Why cooperating is better than competing: Neural and personality components

Maria Elide Vanutelli*, Davide Crivelli, Michela Balconi

*Autore corrispondente per questo lavoro

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in libroContributo a convegno


Objective Cooperation and competition are two opposite modalities of social cognition that imply the monitoring of others’ actions thanks to the adoption of their mental states. Nonetheless, they differ in the adoption of specific strategies to solve everyday problems. Participants and methods In the present study electrophysiological brain correlates (EEG frequency bands: delta, theta, alpha, and beta) and hemodynamic measures (functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy, fNIRS: O2Hb) were acquired during joint cooperative (experiment 1) or competitive (experiment 2) tasks. Participants were required to sync their behavioral performance (cooperation) or to perform better than the other (competition) in a way to win the game. They were required to consider both accuracy (error rate, ER) and response time (RT). During the task, they received feedbacks on their performance that were previously manipulated. In addition, a personality trait measure (Behavioral Activation System, BAS) was administered to group participants according to their rewarding attitudes. Finally, self-perception of social ranking and behavioral performance were considered. Results High-BAS participants showed an increased left prefrontal (PFC) cortical responsiveness during both cooperation and competition. Moreover, they showed greater left frontal activity during the cooperative task. In parallel they also perceived an increase in social ranking and improved their behavioral performance. Conclusion The present findings show that cooperation is the best way to perform the task, as suggested by both self-perception and behavioral outcomes. In addition, the BAS trait could influence the representation of social ranking and to enhance the brain responsivity with a significantly increased left PFC activity in cooperative contexts.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteAbstract Book of the «6th Meeting of the Federation of the European Societies of Neuropsychology»
Numero di pagine1
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2017
Evento6th Meeting of the Federation of the European Societies of Neuropsychology - Maastricht
Durata: 13 set 201715 set 2017


Convegno6th Meeting of the Federation of the European Societies of Neuropsychology


  • Competition
  • Cooperation
  • EEG
  • Emotions
  • Hyperscanning
  • Social interaction
  • Synchronization


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