DOI: 10.1111/psyp.14560 ISSN: 0048-5772

When “more for others, less for self” leads to co‐benefits: A tri‐MRI dyad‐hyperscanning study

Le‐Si Wang, Yi‐Cing Chang, Shyhnan Liou, Ming‐Hung Weng, Der‐Yow Chen, Chun‐Chia Kung
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Neurology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • General Neuroscience


Unselfishness is admired, especially when collaborations between groups of various scales are urgently needed. However, its neural mechanisms remain elusive. In a tri‐MRI dyad‐hyperscanning experiment involving 26 groups, each containing 4 participants as two rotating pairs in a coordination game, we sought to achieve reciprocity, or “winning in turn by the two interacting players,” as the precursor to unselfishness. Due to its critical role in social processing, the right temporal–parietal junction (rTPJ) was the seed for both time domain (connectivity) and frequency domain (i.e., coherence) analyses. For the former, negative connectivity between the rTPJ and the mentalizing network areas (e.g., the right inferior parietal lobule, rIPL) was identified, and such connectivity was further negatively correlated with the individual's final gain, supporting our task design that “rewarded” the reciprocal participants. For the latter, cerebral coherences of the rTPJs emerged between the interacting pairs (i.e., within‐group interacting pairs), and the coupling between the rTPJ and the right superior temporal gyrus (rSTG) between the players who were not interacting with each other (i.e., within‐group noninteracting pairs). These coherences reinforce the hypotheses that the rTPJ–rTPJ coupling tracks the collaboration processes and the rTPJ–rSTG coupling for the emergence of decontextualized shared meaning. Our results underpin two social roles (inferring others’ behavior and interpreting social outcomes) subserved by the rTPJ‐related network and highlight its interaction with other‐self/other‐concerning brain areas in reaching co‐benefits among unselfish players.

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