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      Testosterone Administration Related Differences in Brain Activation during the Ultimatum Game

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          Abstract

          A plethora of studies on the Ultimatum Game have shown that responders forfeit the rule of profit maximization and punish unfair proposers, by rejecting their offers. This behavior has been linked to increased amygdala, insula, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex activation. Studies have suggested a potential role of testosterone in the Ultimatum Game albeit with inconsistent findings. In the present study, we sought to further investigate the role of amygdala and testosterone in the Ultimatum Game, by conducting a double-blinded, single-administration study. Sixty milligram of Tostrex was administered to male and female healthy volunteers, 3 h prior to undergoing an fMRI session, during which they played a standard version of the Ultimatum Game. The behavioral analysis revealed a statistical trend, as participants in the testosterone group tended to accept a greater number of unfair offers than participants in the placebo group, irrespectively of gender. In terms of fMRI results, for the main contrast unfair>fair offers, the testosterone group displayed a greater activation in the right dlPFC compared to the placebo group. Increased testosterone levels were related to greater caudate activity. Our findings suggest a complex role of testosterone in social behavior and decision-making.

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          Most cited references41

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          The neural basis of altruistic punishment.

          Many people voluntarily incur costs to punish violations of social norms. Evolutionary models and empirical evidence indicate that such altruistic punishment has been a decisive force in the evolution of human cooperation. We used H2 15O positron emission tomography to examine the neural basis for altruistic punishment of defectors in an economic exchange. Subjects could punish defection either symbolically or effectively. Symbolic punishment did not reduce the defector's economic payoff, whereas effective punishment did reduce the payoff. We scanned the subjects' brains while they learned about the defector's abuse of trust and determined the punishment. Effective punishment, as compared with symbolic punishment, activated the dorsal striatum, which has been implicated in the processing of rewards that accrue as a result of goal-directed actions. Moreover, subjects with stronger activations in the dorsal striatum were willing to incur greater costs in order to punish. Our findings support the hypothesis that people derive satisfaction from punishing norm violations and that the activation in the dorsal striatum reflects the anticipated satisfaction from punishing defectors.
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            The neuroscience of social decision-making.

            Given that we live in highly complex social environments, many of our most important decisions are made in the context of social interactions. Simple but sophisticated tasks from a branch of experimental economics known as game theory have been used to study social decision-making in the laboratory setting, and a variety of neuroscience methods have been used to probe the underlying neural systems. This approach is informing our knowledge of the neural mechanisms that support decisions about trust, reciprocity, altruism, fairness, revenge, social punishment, social norm conformity, social learning, and competition. Neural systems involved in reward and reinforcement, pain and punishment, mentalizing, delaying gratification, and emotion regulation are commonly recruited for social decisions. This review also highlights the role of the prefrontal cortex in prudent social decision-making, at least when social environments are relatively stable. In addition, recent progress has been made in understanding the neural bases of individual variation in social decision-making.
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              The sunny side of fairness: preference for fairness activates reward circuitry (and disregarding unfairness activates self-control circuitry).

              Little is known about the positive emotional impact of fairness or the process of resolving conflict between fairness and financial interests. In past research, fairness has covaried with monetary payoff, such that the mental processes underlying preference for fairness and those underlying preference for greater monetary outcome could not be distinguished. We examined self-reported happiness and neural responses to fair and unfair offers while controlling for monetary payoff. Compared with unfair offers of equal monetary value, fair offers led to higher happiness ratings and activation in several reward regions of the brain. Furthermore, the tendency to accept unfair proposals was associated with increased activity in right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, a region involved in emotion regulation, and with decreased activity in the anterior insula, which has been implicated in negative affect. This work provides evidence that fairness is hedonically valued and that tolerating unfair treatment for material gain involves a pattern of activation resembling suppression of negative affect.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Front Neurosci
                Front Neurosci
                Front. Neurosci.
                Frontiers in Neuroscience
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                1662-4548
                1662-453X
                01 March 2016
                2016
                : 10
                Affiliations
                Department of Clinical Neuroscience, MR Research Center and Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, Karolinska Institutet Stockholm, Sweden
                Author notes

                Edited by: Bernd Weber, Rheinische-Friedrich-Wilhelms Universität, Germany

                Reviewed by: Jan Glaescher, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany; Sina Radke, RWTH Aachen University, Germany; Sabrina Strang, University of Lübeck, Germany

                *Correspondence: Martin Ingvar martin.ingvar@ 123456ki.se

                This article was submitted to Decision Neuroscience, a section of the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience

                Article
                10.3389/fnins.2016.00066
                4771731
                26973448
                cbe1f27c-b8a9-476a-a5dd-3db7b5486155
                Copyright © 2016 Kopsida, Berrebi, Petrovic and Ingvar.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 5, Tables: 2, Equations: 0, References: 61, Pages: 11, Words: 8841
                Funding
                Funded by: Vetenskapsrådet 10.13039/501100004359
                Award ID: 20121999
                Categories
                Neuroscience
                Original Research

                Neurosciences
                testosterone,ultimatum game,gender,aggression,dlpfc
                Neurosciences
                testosterone, ultimatum game, gender, aggression, dlpfc

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