One of the typical campus scenes is the social interaction between college couples, and the lesson couples must keep learning is to adapt to each other. This fMRI study investigated the shopping interactions of 30 college couples, one lying inside and the other outside the scanner, beholding the same item from two connected PCs, making preference ratings and subsequent buy/not-buy decisions. The behavioral results showed the clear modulation of significant others’ preferences onto one’s own decisions, and the contrast of the “shop-together vs. shop-alone”, and the “congruent (both liked or disliked the item, 68%) vs. incongruent (one liked but the other disliked, and vice versa)” together trials, both revealed bilateral temporal parietal junction (TPJ) among other reward-related regions, likely reflecting mentalizing during preference harmony. Moreover, when contrasting “own-high/other-low vs. own-low/other-high” incongruent trials, left anterior inferior parietal lobule (l-aIPL) was parametrically mapped, and the “yield (e.g., own-high/not-buy) vs. insist (e.g., own-low/not-buy)” modulation further revealed left lateral-IPL (l-lIPL), together with left TPJ forming a local social decision network that was further constrained by the mediation analysis among left TPJ–lIPL–aIPL. In sum, these results exemplify, via the two-person fMRI, the neural substrate of shopping interactions between couples.
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