Humans often adjust their opinions to the perceived opinions of others. Neural responses to a perceived match or mismatch between individual and group opinions have been investigated previously, but some findings are inconsistent. In this study, we used magnetoencephalographic source imaging to investigate further neural responses to the perceived opinions of others. We found that group opinions mismatching with individual opinions evoked responses in the anterior and posterior medial prefrontal cortices, as well as in the temporoparietal junction and ventromedial prefrontal cortex in the 220-320 and 380-530 ms time windows. Evoked responses were accompanied by an increase in the power of theta oscillations (4-8 Hz) over a number of frontal cortical sites. Group opinions matching with individual opinions evoked an increase in amplitude of beta oscillations (13-30 Hz) in the anterior cingulate and ventral medial prefrontal cortices. Based on these results, we argue that distinct valuation and performance-monitoring neural circuits in the medial cortices of the brain may monitor compliance of individual behavior to the perceived group norms.
- Anterior cingulate cortex (ACC)
- Posterior cingulate cortex (PCC)
- Social conformity