In the pursuance of equality, behavioural scientists disagree about distinct motivators, that is, consideration of others and prospective calculation for oneself. However, accumulating data suggest that these motivators may share a common process in the brain whereby perspectives and events that did not arise in the immediate environment are conceived. To examine this, we devised a game imitating a real decision-making situation regarding redistribution among income classes in a welfare state. The neural correlates of redistributive decisions were examined under contrasting conditions, with and without uncertainty, which affects support for equality in society. The dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) and the caudate nucleus were activated by equality decisions with uncertainty but by selfless decisions without uncertainty. Activation was also correlated with subjective values. Activation in both the dACC and the caudate nucleus was associated with the attitude to prefer accordance with others, whereas activation in the caudate nucleus reflected that the expected reward involved the prospective calculation of relative income. The neural correlates suggest that consideration of others and prospective calculation for oneself may underlie the support for equality. Projecting oneself into the perspective of others and into prospective future situations may underpin the pursuance of equality.
ASJC Scopus subject areas