Research Article

Computational and neurobiological foundations of leadership decisions

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Science  03 Aug 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6401, eaat0036
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat0036

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Leadership and responsibility

Leadership of groups is of paramount importance and pervades almost every aspect of society. Leadership research has rarely used computational modeling or neuroimaging techniques to examine mechanistic or neurobiological underpinnings of leadership choices. Edelson et al. found empirically and theoretically that the choice to lead rests on a metacognitive process (see the Perspective by Fleming and Bang). Individuals who showed less “responsibility aversion” had higher leadership scores. A computational model combining signal detection theory with prospect theory provided a mechanistic understanding of this preference. Neuroimaging experiments showed how the key theoretical concepts are encoded in the activity and connectivity of a brain network that comprises the medial prefrontal cortex, the superior temporal gyrus, the temporal parietal junction, and the anterior insula.

Science, this issue p. 467; see also p. eaat0036