Research ArticleNEUROSCIENCE

Brain stimulation reveals crucial role of overcoming self-centeredness in self-control

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Science Advances  19 Oct 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 10, e1600992
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600992

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  • The Simulation-based Model of Intertemporal Preferences (SMIP)
    • Garret O'Connell, Berlin School of Mind & Brain, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
    • Other Contributors:
      • Anastasia Christakou, Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics, University of Reading
      • Bhismadev Chakrabarti, School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading

    In their article “Brain stimulation reveals crucial role of overcoming self-centeredness in self-control”, Soutschek et al. (1) use transmagentic stimulation (TMS) techniques to provide evidence for the neural overlap between processes for controlling egocentric bias during perspective-taking, and those used for self-control during intertemporal choices. The reported effects directly support a framework we recently developed which explicitly predicts these neural and behavioural findings, and makes additional predictions for how specifically egocentric bias mechanistically alters preferences in intertemporal choices. The Simulation-based Model of Intertemporal Preferences (SMIP) proposes that the subjective value of delayed rewards are assessed by imagining/simulating how much they will eventually be enjoyed by taking the perspective of the future self, and this is done using the same capacity used to take the perspectives of other people (2).

    In line with Soutschek et al. (1), the SMIP uses temporal discounting as an illustrative case for how egocentric bias control affects perspective-taking for future selves. Briefly, the SMIP proposes that intertemporal choice situations are analogous to social situations in which perspective-taking occurs, in as much that the “other” perspective to be taken is one of a future self, which requires suppressing egocentric bias from the current “self” perspective. From the current “self” perspective, delayed rewards have to be wai...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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