Send to

Choose Destination
Sci Rep. 2017 Nov 23;7(1):16122. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-15385-7.

Neural bases of ingroup altruistic motivation in soccer fans.

Author information

Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience Unit, D'Or Institute for Research and Education, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Graduate Program in Morphological Sciences, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Clinic for Cognitive Neurology, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.
Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany.
Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, Department of Psychological Medicine, Centre for Affective Disorders, King's College London, London, SE5 8AZ, UK.
Neuroeconomics, Reward and Decision-making Team, Institut des Sciences Cognitives Marc Jeannerod, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 69675, Bron, France.
Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience Unit, D'Or Institute for Research and Education, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


Humans have a strong need to belong to social groups and a natural inclination to benefit ingroup members. Although the psychological mechanisms behind human prosociality have extensively been studied, the specific neural systems bridging group belongingness and altruistic motivation remain to be identified. Here, we used soccer fandom as an ecological framing of group membership to investigate the neural mechanisms underlying ingroup altruistic behaviour in male fans using event-related functional magnetic resonance. We designed an effort measure based on handgrip strength to assess the motivation to earn money (i) for oneself, (ii) for anonymous ingroup fans, or (iii) for a neutral group of anonymous non-fans. While overlapping valuation signals in the medial orbitofrontal cortex (mOFC) were observed for the three conditions, the subgenual cingulate cortex (SCC) exhibited increased functional connectivity with the mOFC as well as stronger hemodynamic responses for ingroup versus outgroup decisions. These findings indicate a key role for the SCC, a region previously implicated in altruistic decisions and group affiliation, in dovetailing altruistic motivations with neural valuation systems in real-life ingroup behaviour.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center