The person within: Memory codes for agents and traits using fMRI repetition suppression.

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30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Neuroimaging studies on trait inference demonstrated that the ventral medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) houses neural representations of memory codes for traits (Ma et al., 2014). In the present study we investigate the neural code not only of traits, but also of persons who exemplify these traits. We used repetition suppression, which is a rapid suppression of the neuroimaging signal upon repeated presentation of the same stimulus or core stimulus characteristics, in this case, the implied trait and person. Participants inferred familiar person’s traits. At each trial, a critical (target) sentence described a behavior that implied a trait, and was preceded by a (prime) sentence that implied the same trait and portrayed the same person, the same trait but portrayed a different person or did not imply a trait and portrayed a different person. As predicted, we found partly overlapping repetition suppression areas in the ventral mPFC when persons and traits were repeated, indicating that not only traits, but also familiar persons have a neural code in the ventral mPFC. We also found a negative correlation between activation when reading about a new person and participants’ social network size, indicating that experience with larger social groups results in less recruitment of a person code.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-171
Number of pages13
JournalSocial Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • fMRI repetition suppression
  • trait memory code
  • person memory code

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