Overlapping and distinct representations of advantageous and disadvantageous inequality

Rongjun Yu*, Andrew J. Calder, Dean Mobbs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Advantageous inequality (AI) aversion, or paying at a personal cost to achieve equal reward distribution, represents a unique feature of human behavior. Here, we show that individuals have strong preferences for fairness in both disadvantageous (DI) and advantageous inequality (AI) situations, such that they alter others' payoff at a personal financial cost. At the neural level, we found that both types of inequality activated the putamen, orbitofrontal cortex, and insula, regions implicated in motivation. Individual difference analyses found that those who spent more money to increase others' payoff had stronger activity in putamen when they encountered AI and less functional connectivity between putamen and both orbitofrontal cortex and anterior insula. Conversely, those who spent more money to reduce others' payoff had stronger activity in amygdala in response to DI and less functional connectivity between amygdala and ventral anterior cingulate cortex. These dissociations suggest that both types of inequality are processed by similar brain areas, yet modulated by different neural pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3290-3301
Number of pages12
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Volume35
Issue number7
Early online date25 Nov 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Anatomy
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Amygdala
  • FMRI
  • Inequality aversion
  • Insula
  • Striatum

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