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Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2019 Jul 3. pii: nsz052. doi: 10.1093/scan/nsz052. [Epub ahead of print]

Individual differences in resting state connectivity and giving social support: implications for health.

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Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh.
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Dartmouth College.


There is a growing appreciation for the health benefits of giving support, though variability in such behavior exists. Based on the possibility that the dorsomedial (DMPFC) default network subsystem is associated with social thinking and behavior, integrity of this subsystem may facilitate giving support to others. The current study tested associations between DMPFC subsystem connectivity at rest and tendencies related to giving support. During an fMRI session, 45 participants completed an emotional social cues task, a resting state scan, and self-report measures of social support. Supportive behavior during the month following the scan was also assessed. Greater DMPFC subsystem connectivity at rest was associated with greater support-giving (though not receiving or perceiving support), at the time of the scan and one month later. Results held after adjusting for extraversion. In addition, greater resting state DMPFC subsystem connectivity was associated with attenuated dorsal anterior cingulate (DACC), anterior insula (AI), and amygdala activity to others' negative emotional social cues, suggesting DMPFC subsystem integrity at rest is also associated with the dampened withdrawal response proposed to facilitate care for others in need. Together, results begin to hint at an additional role for the 'default' social brain: giving support to others.


default network; giving social support; resting state; social cognition; social support


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