A gift for gratitude and cooperative behavior: brain and cognitive effects

Michela Balconi, Giulia Fronda, Maria Elide Vanutelli

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivistapeer review

6 Citazioni (Scopus)


Recently, different psychological studies have been interested in identifying the factors that regulate the development and maintenance of long-lasting interpersonal and social relationships. Specifically, the present research explored the link between gift exchange, gratitude and cognitive effects. The behavioral performance and neural activity of 32 participants were recorded during a cooperative game to be played before and after gift exchange. Specifically, participants had to perform the task coupled with a dear friend. Half of the couples were asked to exchange a gift before the task performance; the other half was asked to exchange a gift halfway through the task performance. For hemodynamic brain responses, functional near-infrared spectroscopy was used. Results showed that an increase in cognitive performance occurred after the exchange of gifts, with improved accuracy and lower response times in task performance. Regarding hemodynamic responses, an increase in oxygenated hemoglobin was detected, especially in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex following the gift exchange. Furthermore, it was observed that gift exchange before the beginning of the task increased the performance level. The present study provides a significant contribution to the identification of those factors that enable the increased cognitive performance based on cooperative relationships.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1317-1327
Numero di pagine11
RivistaSocial Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2019


  • cooperative task
  • gift exchange
  • gratitude
  • intra-brain activity
  • near-infrared spectroscopy


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