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Journal Article

What is for me is not for you: Brain correlates of intertemporal choice for self and other

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Albrecht,  Konstanze
Department Cognitive Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Department of Economics, University Bonn, Germany;

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von Cramon,  D. Yves
Department Cognitive Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Neurological Research, Cologne, Germany;

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Albrecht_Volz_2011.pdf
(Publisher version), 618KB

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Citation

Albrecht, K., Volz, K. G., Sutter, M., Laibson, D. I., & von Cramon, D. Y. (2011). What is for me is not for you: Brain correlates of intertemporal choice for self and other. Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 6(2), 218-225. doi:10.1093/scan/nsq046.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0011-2811-E
Abstract
People have present-biased preferences: they choose more impatiently when choosing between an immediate reward and a delayed reward, than when choosing between a delayed reward and a more delayed reward. Following McClure et al. [McClure, S.M., Laibson, D.I., Loewenstein, G., Cohen, J.D. (2004). Separate neural systems value immediate and delayed monetary rewards. Science, 306, 503.], we find that areas in the dopaminergic reward system show greater activation when a binary choice set includes both an immediate reward and a delayed reward in contrast to activation measured when the binary choice set contains only delayed rewards. The presence of an immediate reward in the choice set elevates activation of the ventral striatum, pregenual anterior cingulate cortex and anterior medial prefrontal cortex. These dopaminergic reward areas are also responsive to the identity of the recipient of the reward. Even an immediate reward does not activate these dopaminergic regions when the decision is being made for another person. Our results support the hypotheses that participants show less affective engagement (i) when they are making choices for themselves that only involve options in the future or (ii) when they are making choices for someone else. As hypothesized, we also find that behavioral choices reflect more patience when choosing for someone else.