Neural correlates of attitude change following positive and negative advertisements Academic Article uri icon


  • Understanding changes in attitudes towards others is critical to understanding human behaviour. Neuropolitical studies have found that the activation of emotion-related areas in the brain is linked to resilient political preferences, and neuroeconomic research has analysed the neural correlates of social preferences that favour or oppose consideration of intrinsic rewards. This study aims to identify the neural correlates in the prefrontal cortices of changes in political attitudes toward others that are linked to social cognition. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiments have presented videos from previous electoral campaigns and television commercials for major cola brands and then used the subjects' self-rated affinity toward political candidates as behavioural indicators. After viewing negative campaign videos, subjects showing stronger fMRI activation in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex lowered their ratings of the candidate they originally supported more than did those with smaller fMRI signal changes in the same region. Subjects showing stronger activation in the medial prefrontal cortex tended to increase their ratings more than did those with less activation. The same regions were not activated by viewing negative advertisements for cola. Correlations between the self-rated values and the neural signal changes underscore the metric representation of observed decisions (i.e., whether to support or not) in the brain. This indicates that neurometric analysis may contribute to the exploration of the neural correlates of daily social behaviour.

publication date

  • 2009