Social pain and social gain in the adolescent brain: A common neural circuitry underlying both positive and negative social evaluation

Tim Dalgleish (Lead Author), Nick Walsh (Lead Author), Dean Mobbs, Susanne Schweizer, Anne-Laura van Harmelen, Barnaby Dunn, Valerie Dunn, Ian Goodyer, Jason Stretton

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Social interaction inherently involves the subjective evaluation of cues salient to social inclusion and exclusion. Testifying to the importance of such social cues, parts of the neural system dedicated to the detection of physical pain, the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) and anterior insula (AI), have been shown to be equally sensitive to the detection of social pain experienced after social exclusion. However, recent work suggests that this dACC-AI matrix may index any socially pertinent information. We directly tested the hypothesis that the dACC-AI would respond to cues of both inclusion and exclusion, using a novel social feedback fMRI paradigm in a population-derived sample of adolescents. We show that the dACC and left AI are commonly activated by feedback cues of inclusion and exclusion. Our findings suggest that theoretical accounts of the dACC-AI network as a neural alarm system restricted within the social domain to the processing of signals of exclusion require significant revision.
Original languageEnglish
Article number42010
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2017

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