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Vicarious Reward Response Is Positively Correlated with Functional Connectivity in the Resting State Default Mode Network

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Document pages: 18 pages

Abstract: Some people can easily empathize with others, while others cannot. The neural mechanism underlying individual difference of how much people can empathize with others is still not clear. Vicarious reward is the phenomenon by which we vicariously experience the positive sensations or emotions of others. Beta oscillatory activity (BOA) is observed when participants experience vicarious reward. Recent studies have reported that the default mode network (DMN) is also involved in reward processing and have suggested that individual differences in the way participants respond to reward stimuli are correlated with DMN functional connectivity during the resting state. In the current study, we investigated whether DMN functional connectivity during the resting state is also correlated with BOA for vicarious reward. Participants watched a player playing a game (Kendama) and investigated the correlation of BOA amplitude and resting state DMN functional connectivity. The results revealed a significant correlation between the degree of phase synchronization within DMN components in the resting state and the amplitude of BOA while participants experienced vicarious reward. The results suggested that functional connectivity within the DMN in the resting state positively influenced vicarious reward processing while observing others receiving a reward.

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