Selective impairment of reasoning about social exchange in a patient with bilateral limbic system damage

Stone, Valerie E., Cosmides, Leda, Tooby, John, Kroll, Neal and Knight, Robert T. (2002) Selective impairment of reasoning about social exchange in a patient with bilateral limbic system damage. Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences of The United States of America, 99 17: 11531-11536. doi:10.1073/pnas.122352699


Author Stone, Valerie E.
Cosmides, Leda
Tooby, John
Kroll, Neal
Knight, Robert T.
Title Selective impairment of reasoning about social exchange in a patient with bilateral limbic system damage
Journal name Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences of The United States of America   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0027-8424
Publication date 2002
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1073/pnas.122352699
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 99
Issue 17
Start page 11531
End page 11536
Total pages 6
Place of publication Washington D.C., USA
Publisher Natl Acad Sciences
Language eng
Subject 170113 Social and Community Psychology
Abstract Social exchange is a pervasive feature of human social life. Models in evolutionary biology predict that for social exchange to evolve in a species, individuals must be able to detect cheaters (nonreciprocators). Previous research suggests that humans have a cognitive mechanism specialized for detecting cheaters. Here we provide neurological evidence indicating that social exchange reasoning can be selectively impaired while reasoning about other domains is left intact. The patient, R.M., had extensive bilateral limbic system damage, affecting orbitofrontal cortex, temporal pole, and amygdala. We compared his performance on two types of reasoning problem that were closely matched in form and equally difficult for control subjects: social contract rules (of the form, "if you take the benefit, then you must satisfy the requirement") and precaution rules (of the form, "if you engage in hazardous activity X, then you must take precaution Y"). R.M. performed significantly worse in social contract reasoning than in precaution reasoning, when compared both with normal controls and with other brain-damaged subjects. This dissociation in reasoning performance provides evidence that reasoning about social exchange is a specialized and separable component of human social intelligence, and is consistent with other research indicating that the brain processes information about the social world differently from other types of information.
Keyword Multidisciplinary Sciences
Reciprocal Altruism
Natural-selection
Human Amygdala
Task
Brain
Evolution
Utilities
Cortex
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Psychology Publications
 
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Created: Wed, 17 Oct 2007, 11:30:11 EST