A causal account of the brain network computations underlying strategic social behavior
During competitive interactions, humans have to estimate the impact of their own actions on their opponent's strategy. Here we provide evidence that neural computations in the right temporoparietal junction (rTPJ) and interconnected structures are causally involved in this process. By combining inhibitory continuous theta-burst transcranial magnetic stimulation with model-based functional MRI, we show that disrupting neural excitability in the rTPJ reduces behavioral and neural indices of mentalizing-related computations, as well as functional connectivity of the rTPJ with ventral and dorsal parts of the medial prefrontal cortex. These results provide a causal demonstration that neural computations instantiated in the rTPJ are neurobiological prerequisites for the ability to integrate opponent beliefs into strategic choice, through system-level interaction within the valuation and mentalizing networks.
Additional Information© 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited. Received 21 October 2016; accepted 7 June 2017; published online 10 July 2017. Data and code availability.: Raw behavioral data, Matlab and R code for reconstruction of all figures, computational models and statistical analysis (including fMRI t-maps and ROIs) are available online (https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.808428). Raw fMRI data and processing pipelines are available upon reasonable request. A Supplementary Methods Checklist is available. This study was supported by grants from the Swiss National Science Foundation (CRSII3_141965 and 105314_152891) to C.C.R. We thank the staff of the Laboratory for Social and Neural Systems Research for practical support. Author Contributions: C.A.H. designed the study, collected data, performed analysis and wrote manuscript. S.S. performed analysis and contributed to the manuscript. R.P. performed analysis and contributed to the manuscript. M.M. contributed to TMS–fMRI procedure, collected data and contributed to the manuscript. J.P.O. designed the study and contributed to the manuscript. C.C.R. designed the study, contributed to data analysis and wrote the manuscript. The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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