Departmental Papers (ASC)

Document Type

Technical Report

Date of this Version


Publication Source

Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience





Start Page


Last Page





Individuals react differently to social experiences; for example, people who are more sensitive to negative social experiences, such as being excluded, may be more likely to adapt their behavior to fit in with others. We examined whether functional brain connectivity during social exclusion in the fMRI scanner can be used to predict subsequent conformity to peer norms. Adolescent males (n = 57) completed a two-part study on teen driving risk: a social exclusion task (Cyberball) during an fMRI session and a subsequent driving simulator session in which they drove alone and in the presence of a peer who expressed risk-averse or risk-accepting driving norms. We computed the difference in functional connectivity between social exclusion and social inclusion from each node in the brain to nodes in two brain networks, one previously associated with mentalizing (medial prefrontal cortex, temporoparietal junction, precuneus, temporal poles) and another with social pain (dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, anterior insula). Using predictive modeling, this measure of global connectivity during exclusion predicted the extent of conformity to peer pressure during driving in the subsequent experimental session. These findings extend our understanding of how global neural dynamics guide social behavior, revealing functional network activity that captures individual differences.

Copyright/Permission Statement

© The Authors (2018). Published by Oxford University Press. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact


fMRI, functional connectivity, mentalizing, network, social pain



Date Posted: 15 June 2018