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Published May 6, 2008 | Supplemental Material + Published
Journal Article Open

Neural correlates of mentalizing-related computations during strategic interactions in humans


Competing successfully against an intelligent adversary requires the ability to mentalize an opponent's state of mind to anticipate his/her future behavior. Although much is known about what brain regions are activated during mentalizing, the question of how this function is implemented has received little attention to date. Here we formulated a computational model describing the capacity to mentalize in games. We scanned human subjects with functional MRI while they participated in a simple two-player strategy game and correlated our model against the functional MRI data. Different model components captured activity in distinct parts of the mentalizing network. While medial prefrontal cortex tracked an individual's expectations given the degree of model-predicted influence, posterior superior temporal sulcus was found to correspond to an influence update signal, capturing the difference between expected and actual influence exerted. These results suggest dissociable contributions of different parts of the mentalizing network to the computations underlying higher-order strategizing in humans.

Additional Information

© 2008 by the National Academy of Sciences. Edited by Edward E. Smith, Columbia University, New York, NY, and approved February 20, 2008 (received for review November 22, 2007). Published online before print April 21, 2008. This article is a PNAS Direct Submission. J.P.O. was supported by grants from the Gimbel Discovery Fund in Neuroscience, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and a Searle Scholarship. P.B. was supported by the Swiss Finance Institute. Author contributions: A.N.H., P.B., and J.P.O. designed research; A.N.H. performed research; A.N.H. analyzed data; and A.N.H., P.B., and J.P.O. wrote the paper. The authors declare no conflict of interest. This article contains supporting information online at www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/0711099105/DCSupplemental.

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