Anticipation of monetary and social reward differently activates mesolimbic brain structures in men and women.

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TitleAnticipation of monetary and social reward differently activates mesolimbic brain structures in men and women.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsSpreckelmeyer, KN, Krach, S, Kohls, G, Rademacher, L, Irmak, A, Konrad, K, Kircher, T, Gründer, G
JournalSoc Cogn Affect Neurosci
Date Published2009 Jun
KeywordsAdult, Analysis of Variance, Attention, Brain Mapping, Female, Humans, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, Limbic System, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Middle Aged, Motivation, Oxygen, Pattern Recognition, Visual, Photic Stimulation, Reaction Time, Reinforcement, Social, Sex Characteristics, Task Performance and Analysis, Young Adult

Motivation for goal-directed behaviour largely depends on the expected value of the anticipated reward. The aim of the present study was to examine how different levels of reward value are coded in the brain for two common forms of human reward: money and social approval. To account for gender differences 16 male and 16 female participants performed an incentive delay task expecting to win either money or positive social feedback. fMRI recording during the anticipation phase revealed proportional activation of neural structures constituting the human reward system for increasing levels of reward, independent of incentive type. However, in men activation in the prospect of monetary rewards encompassed a wide network of mesolimbic brain regions compared to only limited activation for social rewards. In contrast, in women, anticipation of either incentive type activated identical brain regions. Our findings represent an important step towards a better understanding of motivated behaviour by taking into account individual differences in reward valuation.

Alternate JournalSoc Cogn Affect Neurosci
PubMed ID19174537
PubMed Central IDPMC2686229
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