Functional Cortical Network in Alpha Band Correlates with Social Bargaining

P. Billeke,  F. Zamorano, M. Chavez, D. Cosmelli and F. Aboitiz. PLoS One. DOI: 10.1371.


Solving demanding tasks requires fast and flexible coordination among different brain areas. Everyday examples of this are the social dilemmas in which goals tend to clash, requiring one to weigh alternative courses of action in limited time. In spite of this fact, there are few studies that directly address the dynamics of flexible brain network integration during social interaction. To study the preceding, we carried out EEG recordings while subjects played a repeated version of the Ultimatum Game in both human (social) and computer (non-social) conditions. We found phase synchrony (inter-site-phaseclustering) modulation in alpha band that was specific to the human condition and independent of power modulation. The strength and patterns of the inter-site-phase-clustering of the cortical networks were also modulated, and these modulations were mainly in frontal and parietal regions. Moreover, changes in the individuals’ alpha network structure correlated with the risk of the offers made only in social conditions. This correlation was independent of changes in power and inter-site-phase-clustering strength. Our results indicate that, when subjects believe they are participating in a social interaction, a specific modulation of functional cortical networks in alpha band takes place, suggesting that phase synchrony of alpha oscillations could serve as a mechanism by which different brain areas flexibly interact in order to adapt ongoing behavior in socially demanding contexts.



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