Processing of social and monetary rewards in the human striatum

Keise Izuma, Daisuke N Saito, Norihiro Sadato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite an increasing focus on the neural basis of human decision making in neuroscience, relatively little attention has been paid to decision making in social settings. Moreover, although human social decision making has been explored in a social psychology context, few neural explanations for the observed findings have been considered. To bridge this gap and improve models of human social decision making, we investigated whether acquiring a good reputation, which is an important incentive in human social behaviors, activates the same reward circuitry as monetary rewards. In total, 19 subjects participated in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiments involving monetary and social rewards. The acquisition of one's good reputation robustly activated reward-related brain areas, notably the striatum, and these overlapped with the areas activated by monetary rewards. Our findings support the idea of a "common neural currency" for rewards and represent an important first step toward a neural explanation for complex human social behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-94
Number of pages11
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2008

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