Social neuroeconomics: the neural circuitry of social preferences

Trends Cogn Sci. 2007 Oct;11(10):419-27. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2007.09.002. Epub 2007 Oct 2.


Combining the methods of neuroscience and economics generates powerful tools for studying the brain processes behind human social interaction. We argue that hedonic interpretations of theories of social preferences provide a useful framework that generates interesting predictions and helps interpret brain activations involved in altruistic, fair and trusting behaviors. These behaviors are consistently associated with activation in reward-related brain areas, such as the striatum, and with prefrontal activity implicated in cognitive control, the processing of emotions, and integration of benefits and costs, consistent with resolution of a conflict between self-interest and other-regarding motives.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Economics*
  • Emotions
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Motivation
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neurosciences*
  • Reward