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Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2017 Jul 1;12(7):1083-1096. doi: 10.1093/scan/nsx047.

Neurocultural evidence that ideal affect match promotes giving.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.

Abstract

Why do people give to strangers? We propose that people trust and give more to those whose emotional expressions match how they ideally want to feel ("ideal affect match"). European Americans and Koreans played multiple trials of the Dictator Game with recipients who varied in emotional expression (excited, calm), race (White, Asian) and sex (male, female). Consistent with their culture's valued affect, European Americans trusted and gave more to excited than calm recipients, whereas Koreans trusted and gave more to calm than excited recipients. These findings held regardless of recipient race and sex. We then used fMRI to probe potential affective and mentalizing mechanisms. Increased activity in the nucleus accumbens (associated with reward anticipation) predicted giving, as did decreased activity in the right temporo-parietal junction (rTPJ; associated with reduced belief prediction error). Ideal affect match decreased rTPJ activity, suggesting that people may trust and give more to strangers whom they perceive to share their affective values.

KEYWORDS:

culture; dictator game; emotion; fMRI; giving

PMID:
28379542
PMCID:
PMC5490687
DOI:
10.1093/scan/nsx047
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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