Enhancing activation in the right temporoparietal junction using theta-burst stimulation: Disambiguating between two hypotheses of top-down control of behavioral mimicry.

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Whereas previous research has focused on the role of the rTPJ when consciously inhibiting mimicry, we test the role of the rTPJ on mimicry within a social interaction, during which mimicking occurs nonconsciously. We wanted to determine whether higher rTPJ activation always inhibits the tendency to imitate (regardless of the context) or whether it facilitates mimicry during social interactions (when mimicking is an adaptive response). Participants received either active or sham intermittent theta-burst stimulation (iTBS: a type of stimulation that increases cortical activation) to the rTPJ. Next, we measured how much participants mimicked the hair and face touching of another person. Participants in the active stimulation condition engaged in significantly less mimicry than those in the sham stimulation condition. This finding suggests that even in a context in which mimicking is adaptive, rTPJ inhibits mimicry rather than facilitating it, supporting the hypothesis that rTPJ enhances representations of self over other regardless of the goals within a given context.





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Duffy, Korrina A, Bruce Luber, R Alison Adcock and Tanya L Chartrand (2019). Enhancing activation in the right temporoparietal junction using theta-burst stimulation: Disambiguating between two hypotheses of top-down control of behavioral mimicry. PloS one, 14(1). p. e0211279. 10.1371/journal.pone.0211279 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/18948.

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Rachel Alison Adcock

Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Dr. Adcock received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Emory University and her MD and PhD in Neurobiology from Yale University.  She completed her psychiatry residency training at Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute at UC-San Francisco and did neurosciences research as a postdoctoral fellow at UC-SF, the San Francisco VA Medical Center, and Stanford before joining the Duke faculty in 2007. Her work has been funded by NIDA, NIMH, NSF and Alfred P. Sloan and Klingenstein Fellowships in the Neurosciences, and the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, and honored by NARSAD awards, the 2012 National Academy of Sciences Seymour Benzer Lectureship, and the 2015 ABAI BF Skinner Lectureship. The overall goals of her research program are to understand how brain systems for motivation support learning and to use mechanistic understanding of how behavior changes biology to meet the challenge of developing new therapies appropriate for early interventions for mental illness.


Tanya L. Chartrand

Roy J. Bostock Marketing Distinguished Professor

Tanya Chartrand is the Roy J. Bostock Marketing Professor and Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University. Her research interests focus on the nonconscious processes influencing emotion, cognition, and behavior. Tanya has published in numerous psychology and consumer behavior journals, including American Psychologist, Psychological Science, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Journal of Consumer Research, and the Journal of Consumer Psychology. She is on the editorial board of the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Consumer Psychology, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, and Social Cognition. Tanya was a co-chair of the 2011 North American Association for Consumer Research Conference and was co-editor of a special issue of Journal of Consumer Psychology on Nonconscious Processes that appeared in 2011. She was also recently on the Executive Committee of the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, chairing the dissertation award, career trajectory award, and membership committees. She received her PhD from New York University in social psychology, and was on the psychology faculty at Ohio State University before joining Duke University. Tanya teaches Market Intelligence and Consumer Behavior to the MBAs, Social Cognition, Research Methods, and Automaticity to the PhDs, and Psychology of Consumers to the undergraduates at Duke.

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