Neurons that fire when predicting others’ behavior

Chris Jensen and Greg Riestenberg [creativecommons license] via Wikimedia Commons

Cooperative social interactions require an individual to anticipate another’s actions when determining his or her own actions. For example, a person might choose to collaborate with a partner if he anticipates that the partner will also choose to collaborate but not if he anticipates that the partner will not choose to collaborate. These choices form the basis of the classic ‘iterated prisoner’s dilemma’ task used to study mutually beneficial joint decision-making. Keren Haroush and Ziv Williams (Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA) paired this task with detailed neuronal recordings in rhesus macaques to identify a unique set of neurons that was activated when the monkeys were considering their partners’ next action.

Lab Anim. (NY) 44, 121 (2015).
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