Taking another’s perspective promotes right parieto-frontal activity that reflects open-minded thought

Naoki Miura, Motoaki Sugiura, Takayuki Nozawa, Yuki Yamamoto, Yukako Sasaki, Yumi Hamamoto, Shohei Yamazaki, Kanan Hirano, Makoto Takahashi, Ryuta Kawashima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Critical thinking (CT) is important for consensus building. Although the practice of CT using debate is widely used to improve open-minded thought, the cognitive processes underlying this improvement remain poorly understood. Here, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was employed to assess how neural responses while considering another’s opinion are changed by CT practice and to determine whether the cortical network showing activation changes related to personality traits is relevant to consensus building. A total of 52 healthy participants were divided into three groups for an intervention; the participants read another’s reasoning regarding a controversial issue and judged whether this person’s viewpoint was affirmative during fMRI measurements. The intervention required them to prepare speech texts from a designated viewpoint based on both themselves and others. Compared to the control group, the group who took another’s perspective showed enhanced activation of the right parieto-frontal network, that has been implicated in belief update, cognitive reappraisal of emotion, and self-perspective inhibition. Additionally, activation of the orbitofrontal cortex was negatively correlated with a stubbornness index. The results provide the first neural evidence of the effects of CT practice and support the notion that open-minded thought underlies the benefits of this practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)282-295
Number of pages14
JournalSocial Neuroscience
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020 May 3

Keywords

  • critical thinking
  • debate practice
  • fMRI
  • open-minded thought
  • right parieto-frontal network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Development
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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