Date Added: Jun 2009
Sanctions are used ubiquitously to enforce obedience to social norms. Recent field studies and laboratory experiments have demonstrated, however, that cooperation is sometimes reduced when incentives meant to promote pro-social decisions are added to the environment. Although a variety of explanations have been suggested, the neural foundations of this effect have not been fully explored. Moreover, the authors find that neural activity in trustee's VMPFC area predicts her future level of cooperation under both sanction and no-sanction conditions, and that this predictive activity can be dynamically modulated by the presence of a sanction threat.