Social Cognition

Reduced frontal cortical tracking of conflict between self-beneficial versus prosocial motives in Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Abstract Abstract Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) entails severe impairments in interpersonal functioning that are likely driven by self-beneficial and exploitative behavior. Here, we investigate the underlying motivational and neural mechanisms of prosocial decision-making by experimentally manipulating motivational conflict between self- beneficial and prosocial incentives. One group of patients diagnosed with NPD and a group of …

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Perceived Risk of Infection Linked to Changes in Comfort in Social Situations From Before to During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Background: Social lives have significantly changed since social distancing measures have been implemented to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This study aimed to investigate how our appraisal of social situations changed during the pandemic. Methods: In two online surveys, conducted in October 2019 and April 2020, 58 participants rated their personal level of …

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Randomized clinical trial shows no substantial modulation of empathy-related neural activation by intranasal oxytocin in autism

Background: Social lives have significantly changed since social distancing measures have been implemented to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This study aimed to investigate how our appraisal of social situations changed during the pandemic. Methods: In two online surveys, conducted in October 2019 and April 2020, 58 participants rated their personal level of …

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The influence of anger on empathy and theory of mind

Social cognition allows humans to understand and predict other people’s behavior by inferring or sharing their emotions, intentions and beliefs. Few studies have investigated the impact of one’s own emotional state on understanding others. Here, we tested the effect of being in an angry state on empathy and theory of mind (ToM). In a between-groups …

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The neuroscience of social feelings: mechanisms of adaptive social functioning

Abstract Social feelings have conceptual and empirical connections with affect and emotion. In this review, we discuss how they relate to cognition, emotion, behavior and well-being. We examne the functional neuroanatomy and neurobiology of social feelings and their role in adaptive social functioning. Existing neuroscience literature is reviewed to identify concepts, methods and challenges that …

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No support for oxytocin modulation of reward-related brain function in autism: evidence from a randomized controlled trial

Abstract Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by difficulties in social communication and interaction, which have been related to atypical neural processing of rewards, especially in the social domain. Since intranasal oxytocin has been shown to modulate activation of the brain’s reward circuit, oxytocin could be a useful tool to ameliorate the processing of social …

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Association of stress-related limbic activity and baseline interleukin-6 plasma levels in healthy adults

Abstract Several studies suggest a link between acute changes in inflammatory parameters due to an endotoxin or (psychological) stressor and the brain’s stress response. The extent to which basal circulating levels of inflammatory markers are associated with the brain’s stress response has been hardly investigated so far. In the present study, plasma levels of the …

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Selective suppression of rapid eye movement sleep increases next-day negative affect and amygdala responses to social exclusion

Abstract Healthy sleep, positive general affect, and the ability to regulate emotional experiences are fundamental for well-being. In contrast, various mental disorders are associated with altered rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, negative affect, and diminished emotion regulation abilities. However, the neural processes mediating the relationship between these different phenomena are still not fully understood. In …

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Cognitive, affective, and feedback-based flexibility – Disentangling shared and different aspects of three facets of psychological flexibility

Abstract Cognitive flexibility – the ability to adjust one’s behavior to changing environmental demands – is crucial for controlled behavior. However, the term ‘cognitive flexibility’ is used heterogeneously, and associations between cognitive flexibility and other facets of flexible behavior have only rarely been studied systematically. To resolve some of these conceptual uncertainties, we directly compared …

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Spinach in the teeth: How ego- and allocentric perspectives modulate neural correlates of embarrassment in the face of others’ public mishaps

Abstract Humans experience vicarious embarrassment when they observe other’s mishaps in public settings, even when the protagonist is not embarrassed at all. Though neural correlates of vicarious embarrassment have been studied before, it is yet poorly understood how they are influenced by egocentric or allocentric processes of perspective-taking. In the present study we examined the …

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