Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

To navigate social environments, people must simultaneously hold representations about their own and others' abilities. During self-other mergence, people estimate others' abilities not only on the basis of the others' past performance, but the estimates are also influenced by their own performance. For example, if we perform well, we overestimate the abilities of those with whom we are co-operating and underestimate competitors. Self-other mergence is associated with specific activity patterns in the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC). Using a combination of non-invasive brain stimulation, functional magnetic resonance imaging, and computational modeling, we show that dmPFC neurostimulation silences these neural signatures of self-other mergence in relation to estimation of others' abilities. In consequence, self-other mergence behavior increases, and our assessments of our own performance are projected increasingly onto other people. This suggests an inherent tendency to form interdependent social representations and a causal role of the dmPFC in separating self and other representations.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





2353 - 2361.e11


MRI, brain stimulation, frontal cortex, learning and decision making, performance tracking, reinforcement learning, self-other mergence, social cognition, Adolescent, Adult, Female, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Models, Neurological, Prefrontal Cortex, Reaction Time, Social Behavior, Social Perception, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, Young Adult