2014年5月6日火曜日

Social Equality in the Number of Choice Options Is Represented in the Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex

Ryuta Aoki, Madoka Matsumoto, Yukihito Yomogida, Keise Izuma, Kou Murayama, Ayaka Sugiura, Colin F. Camerer, Ralph Adolphs, and Kenji Matsumoto
The Journal of Neuroscience, 30 April 2014, 34(18):6413-6421

脳・報酬系は(自己の報酬だけではなく)自己と他者の「結果(例:報酬額)の平等」に反応することが知られているが、「機会(例:選択肢の数)の平等」にも反応するのか?前頭前野腹内側部は反応するが、腹側線条体はしない。

現代社会では「結果の平等」より「機会の平等」が重視されているにも関わらず、後者の研究はほとんど行われていない(前者の研究はたくさんあるが)〜というイントロの流れがエレガント。

A distinct aspect of the sense of fairness in humans is that we care not only about equality in material rewards but also about equality in nonmaterial values. One such value is the opportunity to choose freely among many options, often regarded as a fundamental right to economic freedom. In modern developed societies, equal opportunities in work, living, and lifestyle are enforced by antidiscrimination laws. Despite the widespread endorsement of equal opportunity, no studies have explored how people assign value to it. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to identify the neural substrates for subjective valuation of equality in choice opportunity. Participants performed a two-person choice task in which the number of choices available was varied across trials independently of choice outcomes. By using this procedure, we manipulated the degree of equality in choice opportunity between players and dissociated it from the value of reward outcomes and their equality. We found that activation in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) tracked the degree to which the number of options between the two players was equal. In contrast, activation in the ventral striatum tracked the number of options available to participants themselves but not the equality between players. Our results demonstrate that the vmPFC, a key brain region previously implicated in the processing of social values, is also involved in valuation of equality in choice opportunity between individuals. These findings may provide valuable insight into the human ability to value equal opportunity, a characteristic long emphasized in politics, economics, and philosophy.

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