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Neuer Artikel: Individual differences in envy experienced through perspective-taking involves functional connectivity of the superior frontal gyrus

McDonald, Becker, Meshi, Heekeren, von Scheve

News vom 23.06.2020

in: Cognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience| DOI:10.3758/s13415-020-00802-8S


Envy is the painful or resentful awareness of another’s advantage combined with a desire to possess that same advantage. Recent neuroscientific research has begun to shed light on the brain regions that process the experience of envy, including regions of the prefrontal cortex involved in emotional processing and social cognition. It is still unclear, however, which regions of the brain are functionally connected during the experience of envy. We recorded functional neuroimaging data while inducing simulated envy in participants, experienced through a perspective-taking hypothetical scenario task. In this task, participants took the perspective of a protagonist portrayed in a written description and compared themselves to either i) a self-similar/superior individual, ii) a self-dissimilar/superior individual, or iii) a self-dissimilar/average individual. During each comparison, participants also reported how much envy they experienced while taking the protagonists perspective. We demonstrate an inverse relationship in the connectivity of the left superior frontal gyrus to both the right supramarginal gyrus and the precuneus with respect to self-reported envy ratings across participants. In other words, we show that the greater the functional connectivity that the left superior frontal gyrus shares with the right supramarginal gyrus and precuneus, the less reported envy a participant experiences. Overall, our results are in line with previous research implicating the superior frontal gyrus in the reappraisal of negative emotions and extend these findings by showing this region is also involved in modulating the simulated experience of the social comparative, negative emotion of envy.

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