Can taking the perspective of other people modify our own affective responses to stimuli? To address this question, we examined the neurobiological mechanisms supporting the ability to take another person's perspective and thereby emotionally experience the world as they would. We measured participants' neural activity as they attempted to predict the emotional responses of two individuals that differed in terms of their proneness to experience negative affect. Results showed that behavioral and neural signatures of negative affect (amygdala activity and a distributed multivoxel pattern reflecting affective negativity) simulated the presumed affective state of the target person. Furthermore, the anterior medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC)-a region implicated in mental state inference-exhibited a perspective-dependent pattern of connectivity with the amygdala, and the multivoxel pattern of activity within the mPFC differentiated between the two targets. We discuss the implications of these findings for research on perspective-taking and self-regulation.
|Number of pages
|Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
|Published - 6 Sep 2016
- MPFC|simulation |amygdala
- Perspective-taking|emotion regulation