Navigation Links
Suspicion resides in 2 regions of the brain

Roanoke, Va. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on my parahippocampal gyrus.

Scientists at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have found that suspicion resides in two distinct regions of the brain: the amygdala, which plays a central role in processing fear and emotional memories, and the parahippocampal gyrus, which is associated with declarative memory and the recognition of scenes.

"We wondered how individuals assess the credibility of other people in simple social interactions," said Read Montague, director of the Human Neuroimaging Laboratory and the Computational Psychiatry Unit at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, who led the study. "We found a strong correlation between the amygdala and a baseline level of distrust, which may be based on a person's beliefs about the trustworthiness of other people in general, his or her emotional state, and the situation at hand. What surprised us, though, is that when other people's behavior aroused suspicion, the parahippocampal gyrus lit up, acting like an inborn lie detector."

The scientists used functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, to study the neural basis of suspicion. Seventy-six pairs of players, each with a buyer and a seller, competed in 60 rounds of a simple bargaining game while having their brains scanned. At the beginning of each round, the buyer would learn the value of a hypothetical widget and suggest a price to the seller. The seller would then set the price. If the seller's price fell below the widget's given value, the trade would go through, with the seller receiving the selling price and the buyer receiving any difference between the selling price and the actual value. If the seller's price exceeded the value, though, the trade would not execute, and neither party would receive cash.

The authors found, as detailed in a previous paper, that buyers fell into three strategic categories: 42 percent were incrementalists, who were relatively honest about the widget's value; 37 percent were conservatives, who adopted the strategy of withholding information; and 21 percent were strategists, who were actively deceptive, mimicking incrementalist behavior by sending high suggestions during low-value trials and then reaping greater benefits by sending low suggestions during high-value trials.

The sellers had a monetary incentive to read the buyers' strategic profiles correctly, yet they received no feedback about the accuracy of the information they were receiving, so they could not confirm any suspicions about patterns of behavior. Without feedback, the sellers were forced to decide whether they should trust the buyers based on the pricing suggestions alone. "The more uncertain a seller was about a buyer's credibility," Montague said, "the more active his or her parahippocampal gyrus became."

The authors believe a person's baseline suspicion may have important consequences for his or her financial success. "People with a high baseline suspicion were often interacting with fairly trustworthy buyers, so in ignoring the information those buyers provided, they were giving up potential profits," said Meghana Bhatt, the first author on the research paper. "The ability to recognize credible information in a competitive environment can be just as important as detecting untrustworthy behavior."

The findings may also have implications for such psychiatric conditions as paranoia and anxiety disorders, said Montague. "The fact that increased amygdala activation corresponds to an inability to detect trustworthy behavior may provide insight into the social interactions of people with anxiety disorders, who often have increased activity in this area of the brain," he said.

The research appeared in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) on May 10 in the article "Distinct contributions of the amygdala and parahippocampal gyrus to suspicion in a repeated bargaining game" by Meghana Bhatt, PhD, an assistant research professor at the Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope Hospital in Duarte, Calif.; Terry Lohrenz, PhD, a research assistant professor in the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute; Colin F. Camerer
, PhD, the Robert Kirby Professor of Behavioral Economics at the California Institute of Technology; and Montague, PhD, the corresponding author, who is a professor of physics at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and in the College of Science at Virginia Tech. The research was supported by grants to Read Montague from the Wellcome Trust and the National Institutes of Health.


Contact: Paula Byron
Virginia Tech

Related biology news :

1. Krumlauf Lab demonstrates modulation of gene expression by protein coding regions
2. Threats to biodiversity rise in the worlds Mediterranean-climate regions
3. Study finds most wars occur in Earths richest biological regions
4. Horse whisperers, lion tamers not needed: Scientists find genetic regions that soothe savage beasts
5. NTU and Temasek Foundation transfer technology knowhow to Chinas quake-prone regions
6. Causative gene of a rare disorder discovered by sequencing only protein-coding regions of genome
7. Sign language study shows multiple brain regions wired for language
8. Its time for Europe to step up research in the polar regions
9. Satellite data provide a new way to monitor groundwater in agricultural regions
10. Research links 29 genome regions with common form of inflammatory bowel disease
11. Carsey Institute: Americans knowledge of polar regions up, but not their concern
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Suspicion resides in 2 regions of the brain
(Date:11/30/2015)... 2015  BIOCLAIM announced today that is has ... Innovation Awards:  Healthcare Edition, an awards program from ... FierceHealthcare , and FierceMobileHealthcare ... the category of "Privacy and Cybersecurity." ... --> Photo - ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... -- Research and Markets ( ) has announced ... Technology and Patent Infringement Risk Analysis" report to ... --> Fingerprint sensors using capacitive technology represent a ... vendor Idex forecasts an increase of 360% of the ... of the fingerprint sensor market between 2014 and 2017 ...
(Date:11/20/2015)... NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or the ... mobile commerce market and creator of the Wocket® smart ... recently interviewed on The RedChip Money Report ... on Bloomberg Europe , Bloomberg Asia, Bloomberg Australia, ... NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or the "Company"), a biometric authentication ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... -- Champions Oncology, Inc. (CSBR), engaged in the development of ... and use of oncology drugs, today announced that ... at the LD MICRO Investor Conference on Wednesday, December ... conference, held at the Luxe Sunset Bel Air Hotel ... feature 200 small/micro-cap companies and is expected to host ...
(Date:11/30/2015)...  HUYA Bioscience International, the leader in accelerating global ... today announced it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding ... collaboration between KDDF and HUYA with the ultimate goal ... for the global market. China,s ... innovative preclinical and clinical stage compounds. The company advances ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Germany , November 30, 2015 ... Vienna, Austria to be held December 1-4, ... in Vienna, Austria to be ... owned subsidiary of Vycor Medical, Inc. ("Vycor") (OTCQB: VYCO), announced ... Therapy Suite at the 3rd European Congress of NeuroRehabilitation ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... and PETACH TIKVAH, Israel , Nov. 30, ... BCLI ), a leading developer of adult stem cell technologies ... Cell Therapeutics Ltd., has been awarded an additional grant of ... the Chief Scientist (OCS). This grant, the second this year, ... activities to approximately $1.8 million (approximately NIS7 million).  ...
Breaking Biology Technology: