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Publication Detail
Private–public mappings in human prefrontal cortex
A core feature of human cognition is an ability to separate private states of mind – what we think or believe – from public actions – what we say or do. This ability is central to successful social interaction – with different social contexts often requiring different mappings between private states and public actions in order to minimise conflict and facilitate communication. Here we investigated how the human brain supports private-public mappings, using an interactive task which required subjects to adapt how they communicated their confidence about a perceptual decision to the social context. Univariate and multivariate analysis of fMRI data revealed that a private-public distinction is reflected in a medial-lateral division of prefrontal cortex – with lateral frontal pole (FPl) supporting the context-dependent mapping from a private sense of confidence to a public report. The concept of private-public mappings provides a promising framework for understanding flexible social behaviour.
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