Neural Correlates of Cognitive Dissonance and Decision Conflict
Research in social psychology has shown that after making a difficult choice between two equally preferred items, individuals come to reduce their preferences for the item they rejected. This phenomenon was explained as “cognitive dissonance,” an uncomfortable feeling induced by simultaneously holding two or more contradictory cognitions (e.g., “I like it” and “I rejected it”). While previous neuroimaging studies indicated that the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) was involved in cognitive dissonance, it is not known whether the ACC area involved in a type of complex conflict of cognitive dissonance overlaps with areas involved in other types of conflict (i.e., decision-conflict). Our results suggest that the ACC area involved in cognitive dissonance reliably overlapped with areas which were positively correlated with subjects’ trial-by-trial reaction times during a binary choice task, suggesting that the same ACC area is involved in cognitive dissonance and decision conflict.
KeywordsAnterior Cingulate Cortex Choice Task Cognitive Dissonance Preference Task Decision Conflict
This study was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for JSPS Fellows to K. Izuma, a Grand-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative areas #22120515 to K. Matsumoto and Tamagawa University Global COE grant from the MEXT, Japan.
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