The brain's temporal dynamics from a collective decision to individual action

Caroline J. Charpentier, Christina Moutsiana, Neil Garrett, Tali Sharot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Social animals constantly make decisions together. What determines if individuals will subsequently adjust their behavior to align with collective choices? Here, using functional magnetic resonance imaging in humans, we characterize a novel temporal model of brain response from the time a collective decision is made to the time an individual action is required. We reveal that whether a behavioral modification will occur is determined not necessarily by the brain's response to the initial social influence, but by how that response (specifically in the orbitofrontal cortex; OFC) is mirrored at a later time when the individual selects their own action. This result suggests that the OFC may reconstitute an initial state of collective influence when individual action is subsequently needed. Importantly, these dynamics vary across individuals as a function of trait conformity and mediate the relationship between this personality characteristic and behavioral adjustment toward the group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5816-5823
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Collective behavior
  • Decision-making
  • fMRI
  • OFC
  • Orbitofrontal cortex
  • Social influence

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