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Social pain and social gain in the adolescent brain: A common neural circuitry underlying both positive and negative social evaluation

Dalgleish, Tim and Walsh, Nicholas D. and Mobbs, Dean and Schweizer, Susanne and van Harmelen, Anne-Laura and Dunn, Barnaby and Dunn, Valerie and Goodyer, Ian and Stretton, Jason (2017) Social pain and social gain in the adolescent brain: A common neural circuitry underlying both positive and negative social evaluation. Scientific Reports, 7 . Art. No. 42010. ISSN 2045-2322. PMCID PMC5294419. doi:10.1038/srep42010.

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Social interaction inherently involves the subjective evaluation of cues salient to social inclusion and exclusion. Testifying to the importance of such social cues, parts of the neural system dedicated to the detection of physical pain, the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) and anterior insula (AI), have been shown to be equally sensitive to the detection of social pain experienced after social exclusion. However, recent work suggests that this dACC-AI matrix may index any socially pertinent information. We directly tested the hypothesis that the dACC-AI would respond to cues of both inclusion and exclusion, using a novel social feedback fMRI paradigm in a population-derived sample of adolescents. We show that the dACC and left AI are commonly activated by feedback cues of inclusion and exclusion. Our findings suggest that theoretical accounts of the dACC-AI network as a neural alarm system restricted within the social domain to the processing of signals of exclusion require significant revision.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Dalgleish, Tim0000-0002-7304-2231
Walsh, Nicholas D.0000-0002-8195-7933
Mobbs, Dean0000-0003-1175-3772
Schweizer, Susanne0000-0001-6153-8291
van Harmelen, Anne-Laura0000-0003-1108-2921
Goodyer, Ian0000-0001-9183-0373
Stretton, Jason0000-0002-9819-4733
Additional Information:© 2017 The Authors. Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit received: 14 February 2016. accepted: 06 January 2017. Published: 07 February 2017. The authors gratefully thank colleagues at the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge, and the Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge for help during this work. This work was supported by grants from Friends of Peterhouse Medical Fund Cambridge (RG 51114), the Wellcome Trust (RG 074296), and the UK Medical Research Council (MC US A060 0019). Tim Dalgleish & Nicholas D. Walsh: These authors contributed equally to this work. Author Contributions: T.D., N.W., D.M., and I.G. were involved in study design and concept. B.D., V.D., N.W. and S.S. collected the data. N.W. and J.S. analyzed the data. T.D., N.W., D.M., I.G., A.v.H., S.S. and J.S. wrote the paper. The authors declare no competing financial interests. Publisher's note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Friends of Peterhouse Medical Fund CambridgeRG 51114
Wellcome TrustRG 074296
Medical Research Council (UK)MC US A060 0019
PubMed Central ID:PMC5294419
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170213-123257566
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Official Citation:Dalgleish, T. et al. Social pain and social gain in the adolescent brain: A common neural circuitry underlying both positive and negative social evaluation. Sci. Rep. 7, 42010; doi: 10.1038/srep42010 (2017).
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:74244
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:13 Feb 2017 20:44
Last Modified:05 Apr 2022 17:54

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