Mapping social reward and punishment processing in the human brain: A voxel-based meta-analysis of neuroimaging findings using the Social Incentive Delay task


Social incentives (rewards or punishments) motivate human learning and behaviour, and alterations in the brain circuits involved in the processing social incentives have been linked with several neuropsychiatric disorders. However, questions still remain about the exact neural substrates implicated in social incentive processing. Here, we conducted four Anisotropic Effect Size Signed Differential Mapping voxel-based meta-analyses of fMRI studies investigating the neural correlates of the anticipation and receipt of social rewards and punishments using the Social Incentive Delay task. We map the regions involved in each of these four processes in the human brain, identify decreases in the BOLD signal during the anticipation of both social reward and punishment avoidance that were missed in individual studies due to a lack of power, and characterise the effect size and direction of changes in the BOLD signal for each brain area. Our results provide a better understanding of the brain circuitry involved in social incentive processing and can inform hypotheses about potentially disrupted brain areas linked with dysfunctional social incentive processing during disease.


Dissociation of neural networks for anticipation and consumption of monetary and social rewards. Martins D, Rademacher L, Gabay AS, Taylor R, Richey JA, Smith D, Goerlich KS, Nawijn L, Cremers HR, Wilson R, Bhattacharyya S, Paloyelis Y. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. 2021. doi:
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