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Emily B. Falk1, Lian Rameson1, Elliot T. Berkman1, Betty Liao1, Yoona Kang2, Tristen K. Inagaki1, and Matthew D. Lieberman1
■ Persuasion is at the root of countless social exchanges in which
one person or group is motivated to have another share its beliefs, desires, or behavioral intentions. Here, we report the first three functional magnetic resonance imaging studies to investigate the neurocognitive networks associated with feeling persuaded by an argument. In the first two studies, American and Korean participants, respectively, were exposed to a number of text-based persuasive messages. In both Study 1 and Study 2, feeling persuaded was associated with increased activity in posterior superior temporal sulcus bilaterally, temporal pole bilaterally, and dorsomedial prefrontal cortex. The findings suggest a discrete set of underlying mechanisms in the moment that the persuasion process occurs, and are strengthened by the fact that the results replicated across two diverse linguistic and cultural groups. Additionally, a third study using region-of-interest analyses demonstrated that neural activity in this network was also associated with persuasion when a sample of American participants viewed video-based messages. In sum, across three studies, including two different cultural groups and two types of media, persuasion was associated with a consistent network of regions in the brain. Activity in this network has been associated with social cognition and mentalizing and is consistent with models of persuasion that emphasize the importance of social cognitive processing in determining the efficacy of persuasive communication. ■
Persuasion is a common social exchange in which one person or group attempts to convince another of its beliefs, desires, or behavioral intentions. Aristotle devoted an entire volume to the mechanisms of persuasion, attesting to the enduring significance of this type of human interaction (Aristotle, 1926). He suggested that an individual might be persuaded as a result of the logic of an argument (logos), the emotional appeal of an argument ( pathos), or factors related to the source of the persuasive message (ethos). Reasoning, emotion, and characteristics of the message source have continued to be central factors examined in modern models of persuasion and attitude change, although the terminology used to describe these factors has changed to include ideas such as cognitive elaboration, affective appeal, and perceived similarity to the message source (Crano & Prislin, 2008; Albarracin, Johnson, & Zanna, 2005; Johnson, Maio, & Smith-McLallen, 2005; Eagly & Chaiken, 1993; Stayman & Batra, 1991; Chaiken, Liberman, & Eagly, 1989; Petty & Cacioppo, 1986; Zajonc & Markus, 1982). Because behavioral methods can only assess one measure at a time, it has not been possible to assess the simultaneous cognitive, affective, and social processes that may
University of California, Los Angeles, 2Yale University, New Haven, CT
occur in concert during persuasion attempts or determine the relative priority with which each contributes to effective persuasion. Limitations of introspective self-reports are well documented ( Wilson & Schooler, 1991; Nisbett & Wilson, 1977); even implicit measures, which circumvent self-report difficulties, are incapable of assessing persuasion processes at the moment they are occurring without simultaneously imposing a concurrent cognitive task. Using behavioral methods, attempts to measure persuasion while it is actually occurring would almost certainly alter the persuasion process itself. Although having limitations of its own, fMRI has some important advantages in the study of persuasion and, therefore, is an important complement to existing methodologies. Critically, fMRI allows the neurocognitive processes associated with persuasion to be assessed as they unfold, and thus, the processes operative at the moment of persuasion can be identified without interruption. Additionally, fMRI is not constrained to examine a single process at a time. Because there are well-established neural networks associated with cognitive, affective, and social processes (Lieberman, 2007; Cabeza & Nyberg, 2000), the presence or absence of each of these processes can be examined simultaneously. Based on previous persuasion research, a number of candidate neurocognitive networks that might contribute to the persuasion process were identified. If argument logic, emotional appeal, and message source characteristics are factors that impact persuasion under
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 22:11, pp. 2447–2459
© 2009 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
. respectively. Asian. and received either course credit or financial compensation for their participation. Lieberman. range in level of persuasiveness. Ronald. & Gelfand. Zajonc & Markus. 2008. 2007) using the same methodology but with a culturally different sample to replicate the findings and examine whether they would generalize across cultural boundaries.75 years. and across two different categories of media conveying persuasive messages (text-based arguments and video-based commercials). emotional processing (associated with activity in the limbic system). all phrases and instructions were presented in English.. Triandis. posterior superior temporal sulcus [pSTS]. 1989) and self-referential processing (Meyers-Levy & Peracchio. Petty & Cacioppo. including individualism/collectivism (Singelis. 1995) and Volume 22. mean age = 20. Chaiken et al. and temporal poles [TP]). Campbell & Babrow. The phrases were selected to be highly comprehensible. Participants met identical safety criteria to Study 1. 2004. as both Aristotle and modern research suggest. In addition. and spoke Korean as their first language. In Study 1. 2005. Noble. Topics and wording were also reviewed by individuals from America and Korea to confirm similar relevance of the topics and presentation in each culture. Triandis. 15 American participants simultaneously read and heard arguments related to a number of different objects and activities (e. We therefore conducted a second study within a cultural neuroscience framework (Chiao & Ambady. 1993. we compared blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) response as participants were exposed to trials that they subsequently rated as persuasive relative to BOLD response during trials that they subsequently rated as unpersuasive. Individual difference measures relevant to culture.96) were recruited from the UCLA subject pool and from mass emails and posted fliers. 1991. Each set of arguments about a given object or activity consisted of five phrases (one main argument and four supporting phrases). In order to identify the neural mechanisms associated with finding an argument persuasive. Johnson et al. Markus & Kitayama.. 1991.. In this article. All participants were right-handed. All participants were right-handed. We used a within-subjects design allowing us to correlate the individual experience of persuasion with neural activity in order to explore which of the above networks and regions are reliably associated with persuasion across individuals.e.different circumstances. 2003. European American. 2008.21) were recruited from the UCLA subject pool and through mass emails and posted fliers. and the latter of which has been associated with activity in medial prefrontal cortex and precuneus/posterior cingulate. then deliberative reasoning (associated with activity in the lateral prefrontal and parietal cortices). born and raised in the United States. Participants were reminded of each argument and were asked to rate its persuasiveness shortly after exiting the scanner. Aaker & Williams. SD = 3. 2004. Numerous social science phenomena studied exclusively within Western countries (i. North America. were born and raised for more than half of their lifetime in Korea. memory encoding (Stayman & Batra. We also conducted between-groups analyses to examine these effects across two cultural groups in order to identify points of convergence and divergence as a function of culture. & Biddle. 1986. SD = 3. Stayman & Batra. 1998). may contribute to persuasion effects under some circumstances. and pertain to objects and activities about which people were likely to have weak initial attitudes. 1989. phrases and instructions were presented in Korean. and social cognition (associated with activity in dorsomedial prefrontal cortex [DMPFC]. fects have been shown to differ along cultural dimensions such as individualism/collectivism (Uskul.. Phrases were developed by a team of American and Korean researchers to minimize cultural biases. Khaled. Kreuter & Mcclure. Number 11 METHODS (STUDIES 1 AND 2) In a first study. Participants also met the following criteria related to fMRI safety: (1) were not claustrophobic. & Fitzgibbon. 2005. 2009. In Study 2.g. mean age = 22. 2000. persuasive ef2448 Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience . 1991). Albarracin et al. Chaiken et al.. Participants (Study 2) Fourteen participants (11 women. and spoke English as their first language. Eagly & Chaiken. 1995. 1995). resulting in 100 total phrases across the 20 blocks. Sherman. we report three functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies that begin to elucidate the neurocognitive networks associated with feeling persuaded across two different cultural/linguistic groups (Americans and Koreans). Cabeza & Nyberg. flossing. Likewise. the former of which has been associated with activity in the medial temporal lobe and left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC). Materials (Studies 1 and 2) Materials for Studies 1 and 2 included text-based persuasive arguments about 20 different objects and activities. are psychological processes that should relate to experiencing an argument as persuasive (Crano & Prislin. Participants (Study 1) Fifteen participants (7 women.06 years. blood donation) during an fMRI scanning session. Western Europe) were once thought to be universal until examination of those phenomena in East Asian populations revealed strong cross-cultural differences (Nisbett. and (3) were not pregnant or breastfeeding. (2) had no metal in their bodies (other than tooth fillings). Bhawuk. and received either course credit or financial compensation for their participation. 1982). 2007. Potential participants were excluded if they were currently taking any psychoactive medication.
regions often implicated in memory processes (Badre & Wagner. FOV = 20 cm. with each block pertaining to a different object or activity. Translation (Study 2) Instructions and stimuli were all translated by a native Korean-speaking professional translator with prior experience working in and translating for the psychological sciences.6 × 1. TE = 25 msec. These three regions have been repeatedly observed to be coactive in “theory-of-mind” and mentalizing studies (Frith & Frith. Table 1A). which was reviewed by a bilingual member of the research team. unpersuasive (rating of 1 or 2). Participants were instructed to read each phrase. Wellcome Department of Cognitive Neurology. 302. each participant viewed all 20 blocks (100 phrases) arranged into four runs. 1998). there was no brain Falk et al.independence/interdependence (Singelis. Blocks ranged from 33 to 61 sec in English. Each run contained five randomly ordered blocks. flip angle = 90°. After approval of all changes by the primary translator. voxel size = 1. respectively. and 33 to 57 sec in Korean. and has been extensively studied in the brain (Frith & Frith. Head motion was minimized using foam padding and surgical tape. −1 dummy variable was used for persuasive or not. the secondary translator. native English-speaking translator was hired to provide a back-translation to correct any errors. and corrections were made in line with the scientific goals of the study. Data Acquisition and Analysis Imaging data were acquired using a Siemens Allegra 3-Tesla head-only MRI scanner at the UCLA Ahmanson-Lovelace Brainmapping Center. full width at half maximum. respectively. relative to unpersuasive. to consider each phrase carefully. goggles were also fixed in place using surgical tape connecting to the head coil and scanner bed. London. as a whole. Four functional runs were recorded (echo-planar T2-weighted gradientecho. Figure 1). All mismatches were addressed and the final translation was approved by the primary translator. Images were realigned to correct for motion. were each more active during the presentation of arguments that were subsequently rated as persuasive compared to arguments that were rated as unpersuasive (Table 1A. and bilateral TP. DMPFC. were collected from each participant. Bilateral medial temporal lobe and left VLPFC. Following the scanner session. Korean and American participants completed an identical task. Each block began with one argument phrase followed by four supporting phrases. a second. Aside from language.. for Study 1. using the same 4-point scale. FOV = 20 cm.1 × 3. and were told that they would later be asked some questions about what they had read (persuasion was not mentioned at any point prior to the postscan questionnaires). TR = 5000 msec. and smoothed with an 8-mm Gaussian kernel. Institute of Neurology. intentions and beliefs) of other people. 2003) and do not typically appear together during other kinds of processing (Cabeza & Nyberg. TR = 2000 msec. and were separated by a 15-sec fixation-cross baseline period. The task was modeled for each participant using a weighted linear contrast. Visual cortex was the only other brain region where activity was greater during persuasive than unpersuasive passages. Participants also rated the extent to which they believed that the arguments were based on information and based on feelings. with a 5-voxel extent threshold. and 295 sec. slice timed. and 298 sec. were also more active to persuasive. 2449 . is PERSUASIVE: 1 = Disagree Strongly 2 = Disagree Somewhat 3 = Agree Somewhat 4 = Agree Strongly”). 307. In fact. matrix size = 128 × 128. 2007.6 × 3. The data were analyzed using Statistical Parametric Mapping (SPM5. 2003). The instructions were repeated before each run. 36 axial slices. and a bilingual reviewer on the research team. comparing neural responses during arguments rated persuasive (rating of 3 or 4) vs. Procedure (Studies 1 and 2) While in an fMRI scanner. After discussion of the aims of the research.0 mm) lasting 328. Wagner et al. 312. normalized into standard stereotactic space (Montreal Neurological Institute [MNI]). Mentalizing refers to the ability to infer the mental states (desires. TE = 33 msec. with order of the runs counterbalanced across subjects. All coordinates are reported in MNI space. the subjectsʼ primary ratings were used to sort the blocks (persuasive or not) for each individual and then a 1. for Study 2. and 321. RESULTS (STUDIES 1 AND 2) Study 1: Persuasiveness of Text-based Messages (American Participants) In examining the neural response to persuasive compared to unpersuasive arguments in American participants viewing text-based messages. voxel size = 3. for a total of five phrases about any given object or activity. participants were asked to rate whether each group of phrases as a whole was persuasive on a 4-point scale (“This paragraph. 2000). matrix size = 64 × 64. uncorrected. A set of high-resolution structural T2weighted echo-planar images were acquired coplanar with the functional scans (spin-echo. bilateral pSTS. UK).0 mm). 1994). In order to control for reading speed. arguments.1 × 3. the primary translator provided a first draft translation. each phrase displayed on the screen was also presented aurally via prerecorded cues. 310.001. 36 axial slices. Study 2: Persuasiveness of Text-based Messages (Korean Participants) The results of Study 2 were remarkably consistent with Study 1 (Figure 1. All analyses were run at a threshold of p < .
55 4.46 4.83 9.02 10.30 Vox 15 418 356 10 8 103 94 176 23 434 2450 Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience Volume 22.72 4.15 4. Number 11 .98 3.21 6.09 12.36 1.69 4. Brain Regions Showing Differences in Brain Activity for Persuasive Relative to Unpersuasive Passages (Thresholded at p < .001.11 5.99 4.53 4. Brain Regions Showing Increased Activity for Persuasive Relative to Unpersuasive Passages Study 1 Phrases (American) DMPFC pSTS pSTS TP TP VLPFC VLPFC HCMP HCMP Lingual gyrus 17/18 Brodmannʼs Area 9 22 22 21/38 21/38 45 44 Laterality L L R L R L L L R L Study 2 Phrases (Korean) DMPFC pSTS pSTS TP TP VLPFC VLPFC VLPFC HCMP HCMP Lingual gyrus 17 Brodmannʼs Area 8/9 22 22 38 38 45 45 47 Laterality L L R L R L L L L R L Study 3 Video (American) DMPFC DMPFC pSTS pSTS TP TP VLPFC VMPFC VMPFC Brodmannʼs Area 9 8/6 22 22 21/38 21/38 47 11 11 L R L R L Laterality L x −14 −2 −54 50 −54 50 −52 −4 2 y 54 24 −40 −36 6 12 20 56 26 z 40 60 2 0 −28 −30 −2 −12 −22 t 3.58 Vox 14 163 338 199 15 103 76 60 44 x −8 −60 66 −50 54 −58 −56 −44 −20 26 −18 y 54 −26 −14 18 16 28 26 48 −30 −28 −88 z 48 8 −4 −28 −22 14 18 −16 −2 −2 −16 t 4.96 4.47 5.74 5. 5 Voxel Extent) A.91 3.72 4.64 7.Table 1.06 5. Uncorrected.44 Vox 27 381 276 19 21 43 195 14 98 43 505 x −14 −58 60 −58 56 −52 −48 −16 18 −10 y 66 −36 −26 4 10 32 14 −28 −30 −90 z 28 4 −2 −26 −20 0 18 −4 −2 −14 t 4.07 7.19 3.21 4.82 5.94 4.02 7.
39 4.28 5. Brain Regions Showing Increased Activity for Unpersuasive Relative to Persuasive Passages Study 1 Phrases (American) Inferior parietal lobe Inferior parietal lobe Insula Middle frontal gyrus Middle temporal Gyrus Middle temporal gyrus Postcentral gyrus Precuneus Precuneus Precuneus SMA Superior frontal gyrus Superior frontal gyrus Superior frontal gyrus/middle frontal gyrus Superior occipital Superior occipital Superior parietal Supramarginal gyrus VLPFC Brodmannʼs Area 40 40 13 8 39 37/21 3/1/2 7 7/ 31 7 6 10 6 9 19 19 5 40 47 Laterality R L L R R R R L R L R R L R R L L L R x 36 −40 −34 48 52 58 44 −16 2 −8 4 28 −16 20 44 −38 −24 −56 44 y −46 −58 12 20 −74 −62 −22 −46 −50 −68 22 48 4 42 −82 −90 −52 −28 36 z 48 48 −4 42 14 −2 36 50 44 42 64 8 66 34 26 22 72 34 −6 t 8.25 4.02 4.27 5.78 4.66 4.44 4.17 5.07 4.32 10.31 6 4.13 4.72 Vox 406 12 385 109 62 73 7 15 117 244 89 8 8 278 42 55 15 71 70 Study 2 Phrases (Korean) Inferior parietal lobe Inferior temporal gyrus Insula Insula Middle frontal gyrus Middle frontal gyrus Middle frontal gyrus Middle occipital Middle temporal gyrus OFC OFC SMA Superior frontal gyrus Superior frontal sulcus Brodmannʼs Area 40 20 13 13 46 10/46 9 19/39 39 11/47 47 6 10 8 Laterality L R L R R L L L R R R R R R x −38 54 −36 42 28 −36 −30 −36 42 24 32 18 20 26 y −48 −26 12 4 40 50 46 −88 −70 30 12 10 66 24 z 42 −28 12 4 32 10 34 32 16 −18 −26 66 10 40 t 5. 2451 .04 4.83 6.04 5.78 6.52 7.41 4.55 5.75 4. (continued ) B.22 6.02 5.06 9.22 4.Table 1.33 4.58 4.89 7.68 6.3 4.46 Vox 36 15 10 314 50 205 250 143 451 18 69 114 18 61 Falk et al.
17 4. and Study 3 (Americans. VLPFC = ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. relative to unpersuasive. Number 11 . (continued ) Study 2 Phrases (Korean) TP VLPFC Brodmannʼs Area 38 10/46 Laterality L R x −40 40 y 10 48 z −20 2 t 7.Table 1. Figure 1. only a small portion of the actual VLPFC cluster appears in axial slice selected for the Korean sample. TP = temporal pole. we found that the American sample was higher in independence [mean_american = 5. OFC = orbito-frontal cortex.005. messages in one sample that was not significantly activated in the other sample. Kor = Korean participants. Cross-cultural Differences Examining individual differences that commonly differ by cultural group.12 6. TP = temporal pole. Amer = American participants.15. videobased messages).63 3. region significantly activated to persuasive. vox = number of voxels in cluster. all activations in this figure use a threshold of p = . VLPFC = ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. For display purposes.86 4. text-based messages). the spatial extent of these activations is comparable. Study 2 (Koreans. 2452 Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience Volume 22.88 Vox 453 84 Study 3 Video (American) Calcarine Fusiform/parahippocampal gyrus Inferior occipital Middle occipital gyrus Posterior cingulate Precuneus Supramarginal gyrus Brodmannʼs Area 30 36 19 19 31 5/7 40 Laterality L R L R L R R x −18 20 −34 52 −16 10 58 y −56 −40 −88 −74 −24 −44 −26 z 12 −12 24 6 44 58 34 t 3. A conjunction analysis also confirmed that there was overlap in all key regions at p < . VMPFC = ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Neural regions that were more active during persuasive than unpersuasive passages in Study 1 (Americans. pSTS = posterior superior temporal sulcus. HCMP = hippocampus.52 4. Note: Korean activations were statistically equivalent in many of the displayed regions but appear weaker because the color scales are different (see scales on left). uncorrected (Table 2). DMPFC = dorsomedial prefrontal cortex.005.01 Vox 10 6 242 286 108 220 37 DMPFC = dorsomedial prefrontal cortex. Also.6 5. As shown in the Table 1A. pSTS = posterior superior temporal sulcus. text-based messages). uncorrected. HCMP = hippocampus.52 4.
93 6. as did the average information ratings (r = .88. A variety of areas were more active in American participants (compared to Korean participants) when viewing arguments that were later rated as persuasive (compared to those that were rated as unpersuasive). although the same set of brain regions were active in the American and Korean samples. in terms of analysis. on average.72. A pairedsamples t test (pairing across items) also suggested that there were no significant differences in average persuasion [t(19) = 1.60 3.28.58 3.30) were in the expected direction.68 6. t(27) = 2. This analysis was motivated by the strong similarity in the activations observed in Studies 1 and 2. To begin to test this. beyond text-based persuasive messages). Uncorrected for Each Analysis Region DMPFC DMPFC Lateral temporal cortex TP pSTS pSTS Lateral temporal cortex TP VLPFC HCMP HCMP Precentral gyrus Middle occipital gyrus Cuneus Lingual gyrus 6 18 18 18 Brodmannʼs Area 8/9 9/10 21 21/38 22 22 21 21/38 45 Laterality L L L L L R R R L L R L L R L x. mean_korean = 6.85).01]. we interrogated specific regions based on the activations reported above in addition to whole-brain analyses. participants viewed professionally developed video-based commercials as persuasive stimuli instead of text-based messages. but were not statistically significant at p < .005.y. and memory encoding (medial temporal lobe.83 9.13 7. p < . posterior cingulate cortex). In examining areas that were more active in Korean participants (compared to American participants) for persuasive (compared to unpersuasive arguments).26 9.86 4. social cognition (pSTS. 2453 .13. the only regions showing increased activity were in areas of inferior occipital cortex associated with visual processing.75 8. mean_korean = 6. mean_korean = 5.34 4. p = . p < . Comparing neural activation in the two samples.81..93 Vox 29 10 312 142 482 214 282 114 264 216 71 346 274 279 443 mean_ korean = 4. ventral striatum).13) and vertical individualism (mean_ american = 5.00 4.09.08 15.19 5.12 5. and tested whether the same discrete network of brain regions were associated with persuasion across stimulus modality and diverse participant samples.05 (see Table 3A).23 3.Table 2. and participants rated how persuasive they found each video immediately after seeing the clip instead of waiting to exit the scanner as they had in Studies 1 and 2. and horizontal individualism [mean_american = 6.e.83).75). t(27) =2. The design and the analysis of this study differed from the first two in the following ways: in terms of design. MATERIALS AND METHODS (STUDY 3) In addition to replicating across culturally diverse groups. whereas the Korean group was higher in vertical collectivism [mean_american = 5. Run at p < .61.54 3.10 4.02 t (Kor) 3. Examining behavioral responses to the persuasive messages. there were statistical differences in activity when the samples were directly compared to one another.01].12 6. Results of Conjunction Analysis of Activations in Studies 1 and 2.44 9.01].33 4. the correlation across average block persuasiveness ratings followed a similar pattern between groups (r = . t(27) = 2.05. Although the average block emotion scores were also highly correlated between samples (r = .85. Group means for measures of interdependence (mean_american = 4.10 4. p = ns] or information ratings [t(19) = 1. in Study 3.34 5. Figure 2).73. in a third study.73 7.16 4.05].97 8.41. none of the average persuasion ratings for a block differed across groups at p < .37 3. see Table 4. Furthermore. mean_korean = 5.76. These included areas that are typically implicated in emotion processing (amygdala. Therefore.47 12.02. Korean participants rated the arguments as more emotional than did the American participants [t(19) = 2. we measured BOLD signal as participants viewed a series of video-based commercials.91 3. p = ns] across samples. Falk et al. we explored whether the results would replicate across stimulus modality (i.z (Max) −12 60 36 −10 52 44 −64 −22 −2 −56 8 −18 −56 −30 8 68 −14 −6 58 −4 −6 60 4 −16 −58 28 10 −16 −30 −2 24 −26 −4 −52 0 50 −18 −106 4 24 −100 −8 −14 −90 −16 t (Amer) 3.48. p < .
50 0.57 Std Info 0.86 3.07 0.27 2.85 0.46 0.59 0.75 0. Pers = persuasive.66 2.99 1.65 0.00 2.43 2.77 0.56 0.93 0.66 1.11 Avg Pers 2.36 2.00 3.57 0.63 2.25 3. Behavioral Responses.50 3.50 0.41 0.80 2.79 0.87 3.45 0.96 2.57 3.41 0.53 Std Info 0.57 3.50 0.98 0.21 3.64 Std Pers 0.40 2.36 2.40 0.81 1.80 Std Emo 0.88 0.74 1.87 2.61 1.80 0.66 0.72 1.13 1.40 3.00 2.92 1.54 1.42 2.00 1.87 2.95 0.81 0.91 Avg Emotional 2.07 2.00 Std Pers 0.72 0.74 2.03 0.76 0.00 1.96 1.83 1.83 0.59 1.21 3.75 0.57 3.93 3. Info = informative.38 1.30 1.43 2. Number 11 .89 1.43 3.20 2.92 0.07 3.33 3. Emotion and Information Dimensions A.35 2.29 3.33 2.36 2.94 Avg Informative 2.01 0.41 2.44 1.50 0.01 0.35 3.60 3.85 1.27 3.49 0.80 3.75 0.71 3.79 3.69 0.68 0.19 2.81 0.36 2.65 Average persuasion.93 2.14 3.66 0.47 3.Table 3.77 3.00 2.44 3.93 3.29 3.50 3.61 0.00 0.50 0.10 0.86 0.77 0.80 0.81 0.77 1.85 Std Persuasive 0.57 0.74 1.72 0.53 2.62 0.44 0.22 2.43 3.33 3.47 3.79 3.70 1.60 3.60 2.23 2.62 1.81 3.80 3.81 3.87 0.50 2.38 3.15 2.61 0.33 3.90 0.88 0.71 0.88 0.53 3.00 0. Emo = emotional.88 0.64 3.60 2.05 B.57 2.41 0.46 Std Informative 0.12 0.90 0.33 3.64 2.00 2.62 1.00 0.59 0.47 3.86 2.11 0.00 3.91 0.04 Koreans Avg Info 2.50 0.61 0.13 2.53 3.07 2.81 Avg Emo 3.86 0.96 1.07 2.81 1.71 3.96 0.79 3.77 1.93 0.00 0.53 3.13 1.58 3.41 0. Behavioral Ratings of Stimuli on Persuasion.00 0.49 0.62 0.25 3.22 1.62 0.79 2.29 2.36 3.43 2.82 Avg Info 1.56 3.40 0.54 1.62 0.65 0.62 0.07 2.80 3.08 0.46 0.98 0.15 Std Emotional 0.79 2. Behavioral Responses. information and emotion ratings for messages presented.18 1.49 0.43 3.93 3.00 3.79 3. 2454 Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience Volume 22.71 3.09 0.87 0.79 0.72 0.61 0.97 0.10 0.48 0.86 0. Video-based Messages Avg Persuasive Video 1 Video 2 Video 3 Video 4 Video 5 Video 6 Video 7 Video 8 Video 9 Video 10 Video 11 2.57 3.63 0.88 1.50 0.78 2.56 3.00 2.72 0.90 0.90 Avg Emo 3.73 2.88 3.86 2.01 0.20 3.83 0.52 0.36 3.57 3.85 2.14 3.50 1.11 0.48 0.87 2.07 3.50 2.90 2.64 3.73 1.43 Std Emo 0.25 2.97 1.96 0.66 0.57 3.81 1. Text-based Messages Americans Avg Pers Topic1 Topic2 Topic3 Topic4 Topic5 Topic6 Topic7 Topic8 Topic9 Topic10 Topic11 Topic12 Topic13 Topic14 Topic15 Topic16 Topic17 Topic18 Topic19 Topic20 2.40 1.60 0.49 0.81 0.20 3.65 0.75 1.57 0.07 3.86 0.19 1.73 0.01 0.85 0.36 2.92 0.61 0.00 2.86 2.11 2.64 0.83 0.50 0.60 0.38 1.
SubgenACC = subgenual anterior cingulate cortex. 5-voxel extent).001.41 3. Equivalent ratings were also made for informative and emotional. SD = 2.67 4.83 4. Regional Differences between the American Sample and the Korean Sample for Persuasive Relative to Unpersuasive Arguments ( Hi > Lo Persuasive) American > Korean Amygdala Middle temporal gyrus Medial temporal lobe Medial temporal lobe Posterior cingulate Precentral gyrus Precentral gyrus Precentral gyrus Postcentral gyrus Postcentral gyrus Supramarginal gyrus pSTS SubgenACC Superior frontal gyrus Superior occipital gyrus Ventral striatum Korean > American Middle occipital gyrus Inferior occipital gyrus Middle occipital gyrus IOC 18 18 18 18 L R R L −28 40 30 −28 −88 −90 −92 −90 −4 −12 8 10 3. Participants (Study 3) Twenty-seven European–American participants (15 women. and received either course credit or financial compensation for their participation. and pertain to objects and activities about which people were likely to have weak initial attitudes.11 years.03 4. All videos were selected to be highly comprehensible.66 3.66) were recruited from the UCLA subject pool and through mass emails and posted fliers. participants were asked to rate whether the clip was persuasive on a 4-point scale (PERSUASIVE: 1 = Not at all. 2455 .08 61 68 52 67 22 36/37 37 5/31 44 6 4 40 43 40 39/22 25 8 39 L R R L R L R L L L L R R R L −13 56 22 −34 14 −48 14 −6 −54 −66 −56 44 8 24 −48 4 0 −64 −38 −42 −34 0 −14 −40 −40 −18 −28 −56 22 28 −80 14 −20 14 −14 −14 62 20 74 66 56 20 26 16 −12 46 24 −4 3.Table 4. Participants were instructed to watch each video.93 4. Procedure (Study 3) While in an fMRI scanner.29 3.86 3.28 4. Directly following each video clip.45 3. pSTS = posterior superior temporal sulcus.25 3. and were separated by a 15-sec fixation-cross period. we created a set of regions of interest (ROIs) based on functional responses during Study 1 and examined the relationship of activity in those regions to persuasion in Study 3.88 4.77 4.88 3. Materials (Study 3) Widely viewed commercials were piloted to develop a final set of test videos. mean age = 20.74 4. and thus. and were told that they would later be asked some questions about what they had seen.94 3.10 47 146 43 36 119 11 25 44 15 5 6 141 16 656 85 41 Brodmannʼs Area Laterality x y z t Vox It should be noted that these are relative activations across groups. each participant viewed all commercials arranged into two runs.53 4. 4 = Definitely).54 3. Participants met identical exclusion and safety criteria as in Study 1. uncorrected. to range in level of persuasiveness. may reflect the difference between two within-group deactivations (thresholded at p < . Commercials ranged from 30 to 75 sec. Falk et al. with order of the runs counterbalanced across subjects.
2002). all activities in this figure use a threshold of p = . Results from our whole-brain search demonstrated that as in Studies 1 and 2. Post.005. mean_american_video = 2.98. left TP.01] and more emotional [mean_american_text = 2. Number 11 . Valabregue. we created functionally defined ROIs based on Study 1 effects that were anatomically constrained by a priori hypotheses.056 . TP. 2008. Tzourio-Mazoyer et al. and pSTS as defined by the Automated Anatomical Labeling atlas (AAL.. London.016 . TP. Figure 2.009 .46. we conducted a further exploratory whole-brain analysis.91. For display purposes. and DMPFC. Two functional runs were recorded lasting 481 and 422 sec. TP. and smoothed with an 8-mm Gaussian kernel. a region that has typically been associated with affective processing and implicit evaluation (Koenigs & Tranel. and DMPFC to social cognition. Thus. using an ANOVA model to compare activity during the task to activity during rest. Based on the results from Studies 1 and 2. Knutson. Mcclure et al.66. p < . we extracted ROIs based on functional activations from Study 1 (thresholded at p = .47 2. Neural regions that were more active in American participants than in Korean participants for persuasive compared to unpersuasive arguments. uncorrected. t(26) = 1.66 2.35 p . uncorrected) that were within DMPFC. and two regions in DMPFC) that each represented the average across all voxels within the circumscribed region using Marsbar (Brett. Images were realigned to correct for motion.27 2. 2004). Anton.001. Table 5. with the video-based messages being rated as less informative [mean_american_text = 3. Wellcome Department of Cognitive Neurology. For each subject. Aside from these regions. and left VLPFC (Figure 1.51 3. p < . Cingulate = posterior cingulate. Results of ROI Analyses in Study 3 ROI Right pSTS Left pSTS Right TP Left TP DMPFC (anterior) DMPFC (posterior) t 1. left pSTS. p = .005.t(29) = 2. with the exception of the ROI in left pSTS (Table 5. videos. the only other region that was significantly activated in response to persuasive compared to unpersuasive videos was VMPFC. 2006. All coordinates are reported in MNI space. Institute of Neurology. compared to unpersuasive. Spampinato. mean_american_ video = 2. Volume 22. Table 1A). and then as a regression relating neural activity to on-line persuasiveness ratings for each video. Examining the neural data. normalized into standard stereotactic space (MNI). The task was modeled at the first level in two ways: first. a distinct set of neural regions typically invoked by mentalizing tasks is associated with the experience of persuasion. mean_ american_video = 2.001 ROIs were developed using functional activations in Study 1 that fell within the anatomically defined pSTS.Lastly.12. we created six ROIs (right pSTS. results from our ROI analysis revealed that activity in all regions of the social cognition network were associated with persuasion. full width at half maximum. UK). The data were analyzed using Statistical Parametric Mapping (SPM5. uncorrected. in order to explore whether regions outside of the putative social cognition network were also activated in response to persuasive. Wood.01].65 0. 2002). we hypothesized that activity in this network would be associated with persuasion during Study 3. right TP. bilateral TP. pSTS = posterior superior temporal sulcus.39.44.84. t(29) = 4. 2456 Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience DISCUSSION Taken together. finding arguments persuasive was associated with increased activity in DMPFC. the video-based messages in Study 3 were rated as less persuasive than the text-based messages in Study 1 [mean_ american_text = 2. as well as across different media.03] than the text-based messages (Table 3B). Figure 3). RESULTS (STUDY 3) Comparing the two American groups behaviorally.. & Grafman. with a 5-voxel extent threshold. Data Acquisition and Analysis Imaging data were acquired using the same physical setup and imaging parameters as described in Studies 1 and 2. To directly test this hypothesis.320 . & Poline. and the prior literature linking pSTS. t Statistics were computed by averaging over all voxels in the ROI using Marsbar.007 . bilateral pSTS. using a threshold of p < . respectively. these results suggest that across linguistically and culturally diverse groups.07. however.
Given that mid-VLPFC (pars triangularis) was the specific region of VLPFC activated in each study. corresponding to ROIs reported in Table 5. but not in the third study when participants viewed video-based messages and made ratings directly following each message. The DMPFC. & Fernandez. The present work extends the role of this network to include the experience of persuasion. it is not yet clear what role VLPFC is playing in persuasion. and intentions is just a special case of thinking about beliefs. these results suggest an important new direction for persuasion research. however. regardless of whether they are tied to a particular individualʼs mind or presented as part of a more general argument. these regions may be involved in considering a point-of-view with or without a particular source. Moreover. there were some differences between the responses to persuasive text-based versus video-based arguments. there was a single voice conveying all of the arguments. there was no individual to mentalize about or whose perspective to take. Our results are also in line with prior behavioral research that has suggested a relationship between social cognition and persuasion (Campbell & Babrow. Note: Error bars are calculated on the difference scores across subjects as these are the errors relevant to each region-specific comparison. it is plausible that this region plays a role in selecting among competing beliefs and memory representations regarding the persuasion topic. 2007. For example. Thus. As persuasion involves adopting a new interpretation over an existing one. desires. and left VLPFC while viewing persuasive messages was associated with feeling persuaded afterward. 2005). 1880). Although we typically associate perspectives and pointsof-view with individuals. from the current findings alone. TP. ∼ denotes marginally significant difference. Consistent with work documenting the neural underpinnings of expert effects (Klucharev. Mean ROI contrast values for persuasive and unpersuasive videos compared to baseline. It is possible that this difference is related to the informational Falk et al. 2008). Humans are surrounded by signs and other artifacts that suggest particular beliefs (e. most behavioral studies of persuasion have not focused directly on perspective taking as a mechanism of persuasion. In Studies 1 and 2. in which participants viewed text-based messages and made ratings following the scanner session. and intentions more generally.05. * Denotes significant difference at p < . pSTS. 2004). and five out of six regions in the main mentalizing network of interest were significantly active when using ROIs from Study 1 to predict activity in Study 3. Although the majority of regions observed in any one study were replicated across all three. However. The overlap between the brain regions associated with persuasion effects and mentalizing in Study 3 is potentially revealing about how persuasion operates. 2457 . Ochsner & Gross. Smidts. content often has a perspective long after its association with the content creator is lost. nearly all mentalizing regions that were sensitive to the experience of persuasion in a text-based message task were also sensitive to the experience of persuasion in a video-based message task. In other words. there was no obvious person serving as the message source in the video advertisements. persuasion was associated with increased activity in the medial temporal lobes and visual cortex in the first two studies. In sum. One intriguing prospect is that mentalizing about a particular personʼs beliefs. The notion that persuasion relies on a social cognition network is consistent with Emersonʼs proposal that the goal of persuasion “is to bring another out of his bad sense into your good sense” (Emerson. and TP have well-documented roles in social cognitive and mentalizing tasks (Frith & Frith. 2003). smoking is bad) without these signs referring back to a particular person who is promoting this belief. across all three studies. VLPFC may play a role in this selection process. Left VLPFC was the only other region that was more active in response to persuasive compared to unpersuasive messages in all three studies.g. pSTS.Figure 3. in Study 3.. Still. Persuasion was also associated with increased activity in VMPFC in the third study. desires. whereas VMPFC was observed in response to persuasive compared to unpersuasive commercials. and thus. the medial temporal lobe was observed in response to persuasive compared to unpersuasive text based messages. Our results also speak to the modulation of neural responses by message medium. increased activity in DMPFC. our results suggest that Emerson may have been pretty close to the mark. To the extent that coordinated activity in this mentalizing network reflects consideration of another personʼs mental state and perspective. in Study 3. using an ROI approach. This subregion of VLPFC has been regularly observed in studies of memory selection (selecting among multiple activated memory representations) and emotional reappraisal (in which a new interpretation for an event is selected over a prior interpretation) (Badre & Wagner.
the text-based messages in Studies 1 and 2 were rated as more information-based than the commercials in Study 3. The Ahmanson Foundation. The handbook of attitudes. in parallel with behavioral studies suggesting differences along these dimensions (Uskul et al. For generous support. Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation.. Neural activations associated with feeling persuaded were almost exclusively. 2004). Albarracin. Future work that specifically targets known cultural differences should help to make sense of the activation differences observed. The differential activations in the medial temporal lobe and VMPFC may also reflect the temporal distance between the persuasive messaging and self-reports of persuasion.versus emotional content of the material. Nevertheless. Americans appeared to engage brain regions involved in socioemotional processing to a greater degree than did Koreans when reading persuasive. gain/approach framed vs. Department of Psychology. D. (Eds.. When analyzed separately. P. M. it will be of interest to explore whether the neural 2458 Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience response to differently framed messages (e. Tamkin Foundation. Manipulation checks concerning the behavioral data support this distinction. 45. Neuroimage Vol. Chris Frith. D. In one fMRI study (Mcclure et al.edu. In the first two studies.. P. 2006. Mcclure et al. whereas soda preferences after seeing brand names. Neuropsychologia. and thus. M. 2008. Number 11 . William M. Jennifer Jones-Simon Foundation. This will also complement interdisciplinary applications of cultural psychology to fields such as public health and health communication (Kreuter & Mcclure. T. Thus. Interestingly. some differences did emerge cross-culturally. these studies identify for the first time the neurocognitive processes occurring at the moment that persuasion occurs. or via e-mail: lieber@ucla. each region may have been sensitive to types of appeals that were differentially emphasized through the two media. Indeed. B.. J. 2008. Brett. Johnson. Freese. Journal of Consumer Research. were linked to medial temporal lobe activity. the implication of these differences is unclear. Left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex and the cognitive control of memory.) (2005). collectively framed messages. Brett Hemenway. (2002). Valabregue. which would presumably activate previously encoded associations. Chiao & Ambady. R. Pierson-Lovelace Foundation. associated with a neural network involved in mentalizing and perspective taking. when pitted against one another. Region of interest analysis using an SPM toolbox. soda preferences based solely on immediate experience of taste were associated with VMPFC activity. 1285 Franz Hall. whereas American participants showed comparatively more activity in regions associated with affective processing (amygdala. 2004).. the specific regions identified within this network that were active in response to persuasion following text-based messages also generalized to a task in which participants were persuaded by video-based commercials. with an English translation by J. & Zanna. in the third study. Kawasaki et al. 2007) is a relatively new field. D. Shelley Taylor. No. 2008). and Chu Kim for their feedback and assistance. Acknowledgments Funding for this work was made possible by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (E.. CA 90095-1563. and Linda R. Dietel Philanthropic Fund at the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation. J. H. Robson Family. Empathy versus pride: The influence of emotional appeals across cultures. 2009. Despite these differences. 1998). Mihn-Chau Do. Paper presented at the The 8th International Conference on Functional Mapping of the Human Brain. L. future work can use neuroimaging to further advance our understanding of how people are persuaded and by what means. 2008.. and Northstar Fund. & Wagner. whereas the commercials were rated as more feelings-based than the text appeals. (Available on CD Rom. each group activated the same set of regions as the other. Furthermore. individually framed vs. This provides initial support for the generalizability of the results in the context of this type of communication. relative to unpersuasive. 2001) and nonreflective evaluations (Koenigs & Tranel. Brain Mapping Support Foundation.. The art of rhetoric/Aristotle. may have played a role in discriminating which messages would subsequently be remembered as persuasive. Los Angeles. Aristotle. Volume 22. VMPFC has been observed in multiple studies of automatic affect (Knutson et al. self-reports of persuasion were obtained after each message. persuasion was reported after leaving the scanner. In summary. Sendai. Given that there has been relatively little research on cross-cultural differences in persuasion and the fact that cultural neuroscience (Han & Northoff.. Mahwah. & Williams.g. & Poline. (1926). We thank Scott Gerwehr. NJ: Erlbaum. Khaled et al. Shalin Pei. 241–261. Japan. 2002. Traci Mann.. In contrast. the VMPFC and medial temporal lobe tradeoff is reminiscent of similar results from studies of evaluation in the “Pepsi Challenge” (Koenigs & Tranel. 2004).. and repeatedly. 25. UCLA. Badre. Building on the baseline provided here. Korean participants explicitly rated the arguments as more emotional than did the American participants. Specifically. Reprint requests should be sent to Matthew Lieberman.. London: Loeb Classical Library/ Harvard University Press. 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