The posterior cerebellum contributes to dynamic social cognition by building representations and predictions about sequences in which social interactions typically take place. However, the extent to which violations of prior social expectations during human interaction activate the cerebellum remains largely unknown. The present study examined inconsistent actions, which violate the expectations of desired goal outcomes, by using a social navigation paradigm in which a protagonist presented a gift to another agent that was liked or not. As an analogous non-social control condition, a pen was transported via an assembly line and filled with ink that matched the pen's cap or not. Participants (n = 25) were required to memorize and subsequently reproduce the sequence of the protagonist's or pen's trajectory. As hypothesized, expectation violations in social (vs. non-social) sequencing were associated with activation in the posterior cerebellum (Crus 1/2) and other cortical mentalizing regions. In contrast, non-social (vs. social) sequencing recruited cerebellar lobules IV-V, the action observation network, and the navigation-related parahippocampal gyrus. There was little effect in comparison with a social non-sequencing control condition, where participants only had to observe the trajectory. The findings provide further evidence of cerebellar involvement in signaling inconsistencies in social outcomes of goal-directed navigation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Jul 2022

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© The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press.


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