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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Hum. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2019.00255

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Modulates the Effect of Unreasonable Request in the Context of Peer Punishment

  • 1Nankai University, China
  • 2Fuzhou University, China
  • 3Shandong University, China

Making a request is a common occurrence during social interactions. In most social contexts, requesters may impose punishments and many behavioral studies have focused on the differential effects of reasonable and unreasonable requests during such interactions. However, few studies have explored whether reasonable or unreasonable requests involve differential neurocognitive mechanisms. In this study, we used transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to investigate the mechanistic effects of request within the context of peer punishment. We used a modified ultimatum game (UG) task as well as a modified dictator game (DG) task. Both unreasonable and reasonable requests induced the proposer to increase their monetary offer for both tasks. Moreover, in the modified UG task, cathodal tDCS over the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (rDLPFC) significantly decreased the effect of an unreasonable request when compared to sham stimulation. Cathodal stimulation did not impact the effect of a reasonable request on the modified UG task. For the modified DG task, no tDCS effect for either an unreasonable or reasonable request was observed. These findings suggest that rDLPFC was only involved in decision-making processes during unreasonable requests when there was an opportunity for peer punishment. Moreover, our results indicate that reasonable and unreasonable requests involve differential neurocognitive mechanisms in the context of possible peer punishment.

Keywords: Peer punishment, unreasonable request, reasonable request, transcranial direct current stimulation, Right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex

Received: 03 May 2019; Accepted: 09 Jul 2019.

Edited by:

Praveen Pilly, HRL Laboratories (United States), United States

Reviewed by:

Chao Liu, Beijing Normal University, China
Philipp A. Schroeder, University of Tübingen, Germany  

Copyright: © 2019 Jingjing, Zhu, Liu, Wang and Li. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Jianbiao Li, Shandong University, Jinan, 250100, Shandong Province, China,