Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Thesis defense Xu Gong (Donders series 272)

10 April 2017


Prof. dr. A.. Sanfey

Decision-making in social interactions. Behavioural, computational modelling, clinical, and neuroimaging perspectives

We, humans, live in an extremely complex dynamic social world. Our decisions during social interactions are affected by a plenty of influential factors and often shaped by social norms. For example, individuals tend to be more cooperating with higher trustworthiness partners; most people would trust more when a promise is pre-delivered. Although substantial research findings have been reported in the field of neuroeconomics about human social decision-making, so far, our capability of incorporating the predicted goals, expectations, emotions, and beliefs of other people into our own social choices are still not fully understand. The aim of this thesis is engaged in deeper investigating and exploring of cognitive/emotional processes and neural mechanisms underlying decision-making in social interactions, providing a useful way of understanding real-life social choices. To this end, this research takes an interdisciplinary approach, combining multiple methods, primarily behavioral, computational modeling, clinical research, and neuroimaging techniques. This thesis provides empirical evidence to help gain insight into human social decision-making behaviors in social interactions, and also shed light on the underlying neural mechanisms of interactive decision-making. Four potential neural processes were reported, which includes reward processing, cognitive control processing, theory of mind processing and affective processing. By integrating the current results and existing findings of decision-making during social interactions, we propose a novel cognitive and neurobiological models of human social decision-making. This work helps better understanding on the neurobiological mechanisms underlying decision-making in social interactions, which providing useful knowledge of of our social behaviors, especially social choices, in our daily life.