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Serotonin Modulates Behavioral Reactions to Unfairness

Science  27 Jun 2008:
Vol. 320, Issue 5884, pp. 1739
DOI: 10.1126/science.1155577

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Abstract

Serotonin (5-HT) has long been implicated in social behavior and impulsivity, but the mechanisms through which it modulates self-control remain unclear. We observed the effects of manipulating 5-HT function on behavior in the ultimatum game, where players must decide whether to accept or reject fair or unfair monetary offers from another player. Participants with depleted 5-HT levels rejected a greater proportion of unfair offers, but not fair offers, without showing changes in mood, fairness judgment, basic reward processing, or response inhibition. Our results suggest that 5-HT plays a critical role in regulating emotion during social decision-making.

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