The neural correlates of the metacognitive function of other perspective: a multiple regression analysis study
Perspective taking is defined as the social cognitive function of imagining the world or imagining oneself from another’s viewpoint. Previously, we reported that behavioral activation increased the dorsal medial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) activation during other perspective self-referential processing for positive words in subthreshold depression, but did not report whether metacognitive function was related to the dmPFC activation. Therefore, we sought to test the relationship between the dmPFC activation during other perspective self-referential processing for positive words and an individual’s metacognitive evaluation of other perspective. Thirty-four healthy individuals underwent functional MRI scans during a referential task with two viewpoints (self/other) and two emotional valences (positive/negative). Neural activation during other perspective self-referential processing for positive words was correlated with the metacognitive function of participants measured by the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI). We found a positive correlation between the score in perspective taking of the IRI and activation in the dmPFC during other perspective self-referential processing for positive words. The present findings showed that self-report questionnaires assessing participants’ metacognitive evaluation of other perspective were correlated with dmPFC activation during positive metacognition of other perspective task. However, we did not conduct a behavioral activation intervention in the present study. The present students were healthy. The IRI is a subjective measure of multidimensional trait empathy. It is necessary to develop an objective measurement for the metacognitive function of other perspective in the near future.