Patricia Lockwood

Neuroscience Symposium
Gazzola Group

The Neuroscience Symposia are organized weekly by the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience. The presentations are given by researchers from the institute or by guest speakers. The title and content of the symposium is usually made known in the week prior to the presentation.

Colloquium room – Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience

Guest speaker Valeria Gazzola

4pm – Prosocial motivation and selfishness across the lifespan and after brain injury
5pm – Followed by drinks


Social interactions are crucial for maintaining health and wellbeing, particularly in older adults where social isolation is a major public health challenge. Importantly, social cohesion depends on motivation, and people being willing to incur costs to help others. However, the behavioural and neural mechanisms that underpin how we make decisions to choose and energise actions that help others are largely unknown. Here I will discuss recent work that examines changes in prosocial motivation behaviourally between young and older adults. I will then present the neural underpinnings of prosocial motivation measured using model-based functional neuroimaging and by taking a ‘computational neurology’ approach of assessing differences in specific computational parameters in patients with medial prefrontal lesions. I will show that different aspects of prosocial motivation change with ageing and are associated with signals in brain areas that are both domain general and domain specific for social processing. Finally, I will present a project examining whether this ‘self-bias’ seen in younger adults and patients with medial prefrontal lesions operates at a basic level of information processing and has a specific neural signature.