Obstruction increases activation in the right inferior frontal gyrus

Tao Liu, Hirofumi Saito, Misato Oi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The right inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) is involved in intention understanding during interpersonal interactions. To examine how prior experience of cooperation and competition affects one’s right IFG activation in the subsequent interaction, using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) we simultaneously measured paired participants’ bilateral IFG activations during a turn-taking game. Participant pairs were assigned to either one of two roles: a Builder taking the initial move to copy a target disk-pattern on monitor and the Partner taking the second move to aid in (cooperation) or to obstruct (competition) the Builder. The experiment consisted of two sessions. One participant (B-P) played as a Builder (B-) in session 1 and changed the role to the Partner (-P) in session 2, and vice versa for the paired participant (P-B). NIRS data in competition demonstrated that the Builder (B-) being obstructed in session 1 showed higher right IFG activation when (s)he took a role of obstructor (-P) in session 2 (the obstructed effect), whereas “the cooperated effect” was not revealed in cooperation. These results suggest that prior experience of being obstructed may facilitate understanding of the Builder and/or the obstructor’s tactical move, thereby increasing his/her right IFG activation when one is meant to obstruct in subsequent competitions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-352
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Neuroscience
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 3 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Development
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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