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You are here: Home Publications CENs Bibliography A human subcortical network underlying social avoidance revealed by risky economic choices

Johannes Schultz, Tom Willems, Maria Gädeke, Ghada Chakkour, Alexander Franke, Bernd Weber, and René Hurlemann (2019)

A human subcortical network underlying social avoidance revealed by risky economic choices

eLife, 8:1--19.

Social interactions have a major impact on well-being. While many individuals actively seek social situations, others avoid them, at great cost to their private and professional life. The neural mechanisms underlying individual differences in social approach or avoidance tendencies are poorly understood. Here we estimated people's subjective value of engaging in a social situation. In each trial, more or less socially anxious participants chose between an interaction with a human partner providing social feedback and a monetary amount. With increasing social anxiety, the subjective value of social engagement decreased; amygdala BOLD response during decision-making and when experiencing social feedback increased; ventral striatum BOLD response to positive social feedback decreased; and connectivity between these regions during decision-making increased. Amygdala response was negatively related to the subjective value of social engagement. These findings suggest a relation between trait social anxiety / social avoidance and activity in a subcortical network during social decision-making.

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