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Neural evidence of motivational conflict between social values.

Leszkowicz, E. and Linden, D. E. J. and Maio, G. R. and Ihssen, N. (2016) 'Neural evidence of motivational conflict between social values.', Social neuroscience., 12 (5). pp. 494-505.


Motivational interdependence is an organizing principle in Schwartz’s circumplex model of social values, which has received abundant cross-cultural support. We used fMRI to test whether motivational relations between social values predict different brain responses in a situation of choice between values. We hypothesized that differences in brain responses would become evident when the more important value had to be selected in pairs of congruent (e.g., wealth and success) as opposed to incongruent (e.g., curiosity and stability) values as they are described in Schwartz’s model, because the former serve mutually facilitating motives, whereas the latter serve mutually inhibiting motives. Consistent with the model, choosing between congruent values led to longer response times and more activation in conflict-related brain regions (e.g., the supplementary motor area, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex) than selecting between incongruent values. These results provide novel neural evidence supporting the circumplex model’s predictions about motivational interdependence between social values. In particular, our results show that the neural networks underlying social values are organized in a way that allows activation patterns related to motivational similarity between congruent values to be dissociated from those related to incongruent values.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Social Neuroscience on 19/05/2016, available online at:
Date accepted:24 April 2016
Date deposited:29 June 2016
Date of first online publication:19 May 2016
Date first made open access:19 May 2017

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