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Our ability to have an experience of another's pain is characteristic of empathy. Using functional imaging, we assessed brain activity while volunteers experienced a painful stimulus and compared it to that elicited when they observed a signal indicating that their loved one--present in the same room--was receiving a similar pain stimulus. Bilateral(More)
Decision making in an uncertain environment poses a conflict between the opposing demands of gathering and exploiting information. In a classic illustration of this 'exploration-exploitation' dilemma, a gambler choosing between multiple slot machines balances the desire to select what seems, on the basis of accumulated experience, the richest option,(More)
The orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) is implicated in emotion and emotion-related learning. Using event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we measured brain activation in human subjects doing an emotion-related visual reversal-learning task in which choice of the correct stimulus led to a probabilistically determined 'monetary' reward and(More)
Temporal difference learning has been proposed as a model for Pavlovian conditioning, in which an animal learns to predict delivery of reward following presentation of a conditioned stimulus (CS). A key component of this model is a prediction error signal, which, before learning, responds at the time of presentation of reward but, after learning, shifts its(More)
Instrumental conditioning studies how animals and humans choose actions appropriate to the affective structure of an environment. According to recent reinforcement learning models, two distinct components are involved: a "critic," which learns to predict future reward, and an "actor," which maintains information about the rewarding outcomes of actions to(More)
The attractiveness of a face is a highly salient social signal, influencing mate choice and other social judgements. In this study, we used event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate brain regions that respond to attractive faces which manifested either a neutral or mildly happy face expression. Attractive faces produced(More)
The precise role of orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) in affective processing is still debated. One view suggests OFC represents stimulus reward value and supports learning and relearning of stimulus-reward associations. An alternate view implicates OFC in behavioral control after rewarding or punishing feedback. To discriminate between these possibilities, we(More)
The cortical areas that represent affectively positive and negative aspects of touch were investigated using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) by comparing activations produced by pleasant touch, painful touch produced by a stylus, and neutral touch, to the left hand. It was found that regions of the orbitofrontal cortex were activated more by(More)
Successful social interaction partly depends on appraisal of others from their facial appearance. A critical aspect of this appraisal relates to whether we consider others to be trustworthy. We determined the neural basis for such trustworthiness judgments using event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging. Subjects viewed faces and assessed either(More)
The neural processes underlying empathy are a subject of intense interest within the social neurosciences. However, very little is known about how brain empathic responses are modulated by the affective link between individuals. We show here that empathic responses are modulated by learned preferences, a result consistent with economic models of social(More)