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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2012 Dec;22(6):990-5. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2012.05.010. Epub 2012 Jun 15.

Neural basis of learning and preference during social decision-making.

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Department of Neurobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, 333 Cedar Street, SHM B404, New Haven, CT 06510, USA.


Social decision-making is arguably the most complex cognitive function performed by the human brain. This is due to two unique features of social decision-making. First, predicting the behaviors of others is extremely difficult. Second, humans often take into consideration the well-beings of others during decision-making, but this is influenced by many contextual factors. Despite such complexity, studies on the neural basis of social decision-making have made substantial progress in the last several years. They demonstrated that the core brain areas involved in reinforcement learning and valuation, such as the ventral striatum and orbitofrontal cortex, make important contribution to social decision-making. Furthermore, the contribution of brain systems implicated for theory of mind during decision-making is being elucidated. Future studies are expected to provide additional details about the nature of information channeled through these brain areas.

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