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Anterior cingulate cortex: A brain system necessary for learning to reward others?

Authors
  • Lockwood, Patricia L1, 2, 3
  • O'Nell, Kathryn C1, 2
  • Apps, Matthew A J1, 2, 3
  • 1 Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom. , (United Kingdom)
  • 2 Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom. , (United Kingdom)
  • 3 Centre for Human Brain Health, School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom. , (United Kingdom)
Type
Published Article
Journal
PLoS Biology
Publisher
Public Library of Science
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2020
Volume
18
Issue
6
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000735
PMID: 32530924
Source
Medline
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Helping a friend move house, donating to charity, volunteering assistance during a crisis. Humans and other species alike regularly undertake prosocial behaviors-actions that benefit others without necessarily helping ourselves. But how does the brain learn what acts are prosocial? Basile and colleagues show that removal of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) prevents monkeys from learning what actions are prosocial but does not stop them carrying out previously learned prosocial behaviors. This highlights that the ability to learn what actions are prosocial and choosing to perform helpful acts may be distinct cognitive processes, with only the former depending on ACC.

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