sciencedirect.com, NeuroImage, Volume 96, 1 August 2014, Pages 36–43, M.
Cikaraa, A.C. Jenkinsb, N. Dufourc, R. Saxec
Reduced self-referential neural response during intergroup
competition predicts competitor harm
• Participants performed a competitive task alone and as part of a group.
• Reduced mPFC response to self-relevant content is associated with later
• This effect is specific to group competition and to moral content.
• Group competition also disrupts the self-reference memory effect/mPFC
Why do interactions become more hostile when social relations shift from “me
versus you” to “us versus them”? One possibility is that acting with a group can
reduce spontaneous self-referential processing in the moral domain and, in turn,
facilitate competitor harm. We tested this hypothesis in an fMRI experiment in
which (i) participants performed a competitive task once alone and once with a
group; (ii) spontaneous self-referential processing during competition was
indexed unobtrusively by activation in an independently localized region of the
medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) associated with self-reference; and (iii) we
assessed participants' willingness to harm competitors versus teammates. As
predicted, participants who showed reduced mPFC activation in response to
descriptions of their own moral behaviors while competing in a group were more
willing to harm competitors. These results suggest that intergroup competition (above
and beyond inter-personal competition) can reduce self-referential processing of
moral information, enabling harmful behaviors towards members of a competitive
Self; Intergroup competition; Medial prefrontal cortex; fMRI; Social cognition
Corresponding author contact information
Corresponding author at: Department of Social and Decision Sciences, Carnegie
Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA. Fax: + 1 412 268
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Red.: Van andere artikel maar even geldig hier: De geestelijke armoede en de bekrompenheid van de
islamitische cultuur leidt tot een kleinere pfc, en daarmee tot criminaliteit
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