Activity in the amygdala elicited by unfair divisions predicts social value orientation

Nat Neurosci. 2010 Feb;13(2):160-1. doi: 10.1038/nn.2468. Epub 2009 Dec 20.


'Social value orientation' characterizes individual differences in anchoring attitudes toward the division of resources. Here, by contrasting people with prosocial and individualistic orientations using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we demonstrate that degree of inequity aversion in prosocials is predictable from amygdala activity and unaffected by cognitive load. This result suggests that automatic emotional processing in the amygdala lies at the core of prosocial value orientation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Brain / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Linear Models
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Personality / physiology*
  • Reward
  • Social Behavior*
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult