Anticipating social feedback involves basal forebrain and mesolimbic functional connectivity

Abstract

The mesolimbic system and basal forebrain (BF) are implicated in processing rewards and punishment, but their interplay and functional properties of subregions with respect to future social outcomes remain unclear. Therefore, this study investigated regional responses and interregional functional connectivity of the lateral (l), medial (m), and ventral (v) Substantia Nigra (SN), Nucleus Accumbens (NAcc), Nucleus basalis of Meynert (NBM), and Medial Septum/Diagonal Band (MS/DB) during reward and punishment anticipation in a social incentive delay task with neutral, positive, and negative feedback using high-resolution fMRI (1.5mm3). Neuroimaging data (n = 36 healthy humans) of the anticipation phase was analyzed using mass-univariate, functional connectivity, and multivariate-pattern analysis. As expected, participants responded faster when anticipating positive and negative compared to neutral social feedback. At the neural level, anticipating social information engaged valence-related and valence-unrelated functional connectivity patterns involving the BF and mesolimbic areas. Precisely, valence-related connectivity between the lSN and NBM was associated with anticipating neutral social feedback, while connectivity between the vSN and NBM was associated with anticipating positive social feedback. A more complex pattern was observed for anticipating negative social feedback, including connectivity between the lSN and MS/DB, lSN and NAcc, as well as mSN and NAcc. To conclude, functional connectivity patterns of the BF and mesolimbic areas signal the anticipation of social feedback depending on their emotional valence. As such, our findings give novel insights into the underlying neural processes of social information processing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120131
JournalNeuroImage
Volume274
Pages (from-to)120131
Number of pages1
ISSN1053-8119
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01.07.2023

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)

Cite this