Social structure learning in human anterior insula
Humans form social coalitions in every society, yet we know little about how we learn and represent social group boundaries. Here we derive predictions from a computational model of latent structure learning to move beyond explicit category labels and interpersonal, or dyadic similarity as the sole inputs to social group representations. Using a model-based analysis of functional neuroimaging data, we find that separate areas correlate with dyadic similarity and latent structure learning. Trial-by-trial estimates of 'allyship' based on dyadic similarity between participants and each agent recruited medial prefrontal cortex/pregenual anterior cingulate (pgACC). Latent social group structure-based allyship estimates, in contrast, recruited right anterior insula (rAI). Variability in the brain signal from rAI improved prediction of variability in ally-choice behavior, whereas variability from the pgACC did not. These results provide novel insights into the psychological and neural mechanisms by which people learn to distinguish 'us' from 'them'.
All materials, data, and analyses can be accessed on the OpenScience Framework at https://osf.io/3wtbg/. Whole-brain maps presented in Fig. 4 can be found at https://neurovault.org/collections/6556/.
Social Structure Learning in Human Anterior InsulaOpen Science Framework, 3wtbg.
Article and author information
Mind Brain and Behavior Initiative, Harvard University (Faculty Grant)
- Samuel J Gershman
- Mina Cikara
National Science Foundation (BCS-1653188)
- Mina Cikara
NIH Shared Instrumentation Grant Program (S10OD020039)
- Mina Cikara
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Human subjects: Participants provided informed consent; all procedures complied with Harvard University'sCommittee on the Use of Human Subjects board's guidelines. (Protocol #IRB15-2048).
- Alexander Shackman, University of Maryland, United States
- Received: October 30, 2019
- Accepted: February 17, 2020
- Accepted Manuscript published: February 18, 2020 (version 1)
- Version of Record published: April 6, 2020 (version 2)
© 2020, Lau et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
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