Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation of the Medial Frontal Cortex Modulates Choise-Induced Preference Changes

18 Pages Posted: 24 Sep 2018

See all articles by Marco Calosio

Marco Calosio

National Research University Higher School of Economics - Centre for Cognition and Decision Making

Elena Rybina

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Anna Shestakova

National Research University Higher School of Economics - Centre for Cognition and Decision Making

Vasily Klucharev

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Date Written: September 18, 2018

Abstract

Cognitive dissonance arises as a reaction to conflict appearing in choices between two equally attractive options. It leads to changes in the desirability of these options. The chosen option becomes more desirable whereas the rejected option is devalued. Despite cognitive dissonance being largely used by social psychologists to explain social conformity and preference re-evaluation, little is known about the neural mechanisms of such choice-induced preference changes. In this study, we modulated the activity of the posterior medial frontal cortex (pMFC), which has been found to be involved in cognitive dissonance in neuroimaging studies. We influenced the activity of the pMFC before individual choices using both cathodal and anodal transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) during a revised version of Brehm's free-choice paradigm. Our results showed that cathodal tDCS over the pMFC significantly decreased the typical choice-induced preference change relative to a sham stimulation. On the contrary, no significant effect of anodal tDCS was observed. Our findings of the influence cathodal tDCS on preference re-evaluation highlight the central contribution of the pMFC in cognitive dissonance and provide evidence that pMFC plays a key role in the implementation of subsequent post-decision preference change.

Keywords: cognitive dissonance, social psychology, choice-induced preference changes, medial frontal cortex, transcranial direct current stimulation, cathodal tDCS, anodal tDCS

JEL Classification: Z

Suggested Citation

Calosio, Marco and Rybina, Elena and Shestakova, Anna and Klucharev, Vasily, Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation of the Medial Frontal Cortex Modulates Choise-Induced Preference Changes (September 18, 2018). Higher School of Economics Research Paper No. WP BRP 92/PSY/2018, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3251325 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3251325

Marco Calosio

National Research University Higher School of Economics - Centre for Cognition and Decision Making ( email )

Moscow
Russia

Elena Rybina (Contact Author)

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

Anna Shestakova

National Research University Higher School of Economics - Centre for Cognition and Decision Making ( email )

Moscow
Russia

Vasily Klucharev

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

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