Social learning is fundamental to human interactions, yet its computational and physiological mechanisms are not well understood. One prominent open question concerns the role of neuromodulatory transmitters. We combined fMRI, computational modelling, and genetics to address this question in two separate samples (N=35, N=47). Participants played a game requiring inference on an advisor's intentions whose motivation to help or mislead changed over time. Our analyses suggest that hierarchically structured belief updates about current advice validity and the adviser's trustworthiness, respectively, depend on different neuromodulatory systems. Low-level prediction errors (PEs) about advice accuracy not only activated regions known to support "theory of mind", but also the dopaminergic midbrain. Furthermore, PE responses in ventral striatum were influenced by the Met/Val polymorphism of the Catechol-O-Methyltransferase (COMT) gene. By contrast, high-level PEs ("expected uncertainty") about the adviser's fidelity activated the cholinergic septum. These findings, replicated in both samples, have important implications: They suggest that social learning rests on hierarchically related PEs encoded by midbrain and septum activity, respectively, in the same manner as other forms of learning under volatility. Furthermore, these hierarchical PEs may be broadcast by dopaminergic and cholinergic projections to induce plasticity specifically in cortical areas known to represent beliefs about others. Copyright The Authors (2017). Published by Oxford University Press.

Hierarchical prediction errors in midbrain and septum during social learning

Mathys, Christoph Daniel;
2017

Abstract

Social learning is fundamental to human interactions, yet its computational and physiological mechanisms are not well understood. One prominent open question concerns the role of neuromodulatory transmitters. We combined fMRI, computational modelling, and genetics to address this question in two separate samples (N=35, N=47). Participants played a game requiring inference on an advisor's intentions whose motivation to help or mislead changed over time. Our analyses suggest that hierarchically structured belief updates about current advice validity and the adviser's trustworthiness, respectively, depend on different neuromodulatory systems. Low-level prediction errors (PEs) about advice accuracy not only activated regions known to support "theory of mind", but also the dopaminergic midbrain. Furthermore, PE responses in ventral striatum were influenced by the Met/Val polymorphism of the Catechol-O-Methyltransferase (COMT) gene. By contrast, high-level PEs ("expected uncertainty") about the adviser's fidelity activated the cholinergic septum. These findings, replicated in both samples, have important implications: They suggest that social learning rests on hierarchically related PEs encoded by midbrain and septum activity, respectively, in the same manner as other forms of learning under volatility. Furthermore, these hierarchical PEs may be broadcast by dopaminergic and cholinergic projections to induce plasticity specifically in cortical areas known to represent beliefs about others. Copyright The Authors (2017). Published by Oxford University Press.
12
4
618
634
10.1093/scan/nsw171
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5390746/
Diaconescu, A. O.; Mathys, Christoph Daniel; Weber, L. A. E.; Kasper, L.; Mauer, J.; Stephan, K. E.
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
nsw171.pdf

accesso aperto

Tipologia: Versione Editoriale (PDF)
Licenza: Creative commons
Dimensione 1.24 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
1.24 MB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11767/47822
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? 33
  • Scopus 62
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 60
social impact