Study: Right Supramarginal Gyrus Is Crucial to Overcome Emotional Egocentricity Bias in Social Judgments

“Humans tend to use the self as a reference point to perceive the world and gain information about other people’s mental states. However, applying such a self-referential projection mechanism in situations where it is inappropriate can result in egocentrically biased judgments. To assess egocentricity bias in the emotional domain (EEB), we developed a novel visuo-tactile paradigm assessing the degree to which empathic judgments are biased by one’s own emotions if they are incongruent to those of the person we empathize with.


A first behavioral experiment confirmed the existence of such EEB, and two independent fMRI experiments revealed that overcoming biased empathic judgments is associated with increased activation in the right supramarginal gyrus (rSMG), in a location distinct from activations in right temporoparietal junction reported in previous social cognition studies. Using temporary disruption of rSMG with repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation resulted in a substantial increase of EEB, and so did reducing visuo-tactile stimulation time as shown in an additional behavioral experiment. Our findings provide converging evidence from multiple methods and experiments that rSMG is crucial for overcoming emotional egocentricity. “


Giorgia Silani
 Claus Lamm

 Christian C. Ruf

 Tania Singer


I’m OK, you’re not OK: Right supramarginal gyrus plays an important role in empathy