How Beliefs about Self-creation Inflate Value in the Human Brain

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How Beliefs about Self-creation Inflate Value in the Human Brain

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Title: How Beliefs about Self-creation Inflate Value in the Human Brain
Author: Koster, Raphael; Sharot, Tali; Yuan, Rachel; De Martino, Benedetto; Norton, Michael Irwin; Dolan, Raymond J.

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Citation: Koster, Raphael, Tali Sharot, Rachel Yuan, Benedetto De Martino, Michael I. Norton, and Raymond J. Dolan. "How Beliefs about Self-creation Inflate Value in the Human Brain." Art. 473. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 9 (September 2015): 1–10.
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Abstract: Humans have a tendency to overvalue their own ideas and creations. Understanding how these errors in judgement emerge is important for explaining suboptimal decisions, as when individuals and groups choose self-created alternatives over superior or equal ones. We show that such overvaluation is a reconstructive process that emerges when participants believe they have created an item, regardless of whether this belief is true or false. This overvaluation is observed both when false beliefs of self-creation are elicited (Experiment 1) or implanted (Experiment 2). Using brain imaging data we highlight the brain processes mediating an interaction between value and belief of self-creation. Specifically, following the creation manipulation there is an increased functional connectivity during valuation between the right caudate nucleus, where we show BOLD activity correlated with subjective value, and the left amygdala, where we show BOLD activity is linked to subjective belief. Our study highlights psychological and neurobiological processes through which false beliefs alter human valuation and in doing so throw light on a common source of error in judgements of value.
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