Poster E85, Monday, March 26, 2:30-4:30 pm, Exhibit Hall C
Context-dependent selective role of the left medial prefrontal cortex in communication: a TMS study
Beatriz Martin-Luengo1, Matteo Feurra1, Alicia Vorobiova1, Andriy Myachykov1,2, Yury Shtyrov1,3,4; 1National Research University - Higher School of Economics, 2Northumbria University, 3Aarhus University, 4Saint Petersburg State University
Behavioral research shows that, depending on the social context, participants tend to report more (in informal) or less (in formal social contexts) information whose correctness they are not confident in. The left medial prefrontal cortex (lmPFC) is suggested as one area linked with self-referential processing in metacognitive decisions, and it may be the key to understanding this differential reporting. We assessed the lmPFC involvement in the willingness to share information in different social contexts by using inhibitory repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) during a behavioural metacognitive task. Three groups of participants were exposed to an offline 1-Hz rTMS stimulation of either: (1) lmPFC, (2) sham (placebo stimulation) or (3) control site (rmPFC). Afterwards, participants answered difficult general knowledge questions and rated their confidence in the correctness of their answers. Finally, they decided if they would prefer to report or withhold those answers in a formal (job interview) and in informal (chatting with friends) contexts. In all three groups, there were significantly more reported than withheld answers in the informal context. Crucially, in the formal context, there were significantly more withheld than reported answers in the group that received the lmPFC rTMS, and no differences in the other two groups. No differences were found in the confidence ratings between the three groups. These results highlight the importance of pragmatic context when deciding which information to share, and suggest that the left medial prefrontal cortex plays a role in self-referential processes involved in controlling communicational exchanges under different social circumstances.
Topic Area: OTHER