Why to cooperate is better than to compete: Brain and personality components

Michela Balconi*, Davide Crivelli, Maria Elide Vanutelli

*Autore corrispondente per questo lavoro

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivistapeer review

14 Citazioni (Scopus)


Background: Cooperation and competition were compared in the present study. Brain correlates (electroencephalography, EEG frequency band, delta, theta, alpha, and beta) and hemodynamic measure of functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS, O2Hb) were acquired during a joined cooperative (Experiment 1) or competitive (Experiment 2) task. Subjects were required to match each other's cognitive performance (cooperation) or to make better than others (competition) in terms of accuracy (error rate, ER) and response time (RT). In addition, a personality trait measure (behavioral activation system, BAS) was used to distinguish subjects based on their rewarding attitude. Self-perception of social ranking and real performance were considered in response to subjects' performance (that was artificially manipulated to show an increasing or decreasing profile during the task). Results: An increased left prefrontal cortical (PFC) responsiveness was found for subjects who had higher BAS rating in case of both cooperation and competition conditions. Moreover, subjects with higher BAS ratings showed greater frontal left activity during the cooperative task. These subjects also concomitantly perceived an increasing in social ranking and improved their performance. Conclusions: Present results demonstrated that some trait components (BAS) and cooperative condition induce a positive self-representation in term of ranking and a best way to perform the task, as underlined by self-perception and cognitive outcomes. Indeed the higher BAS trait proved to be related with the representation of higher social ranking and with the perception of improved cognitive outcomes, with also a significant increased left PFC activity in cooperative contexts.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)N/A-N/A
Numero di pagine15
RivistaBMC Neuroscience
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2017


  • BAS
  • Competition
  • Cooperation
  • EEG
  • Ranking self-perception


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