Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Short Communication

Cognitive control in altruism and self-control: A social cognitive neuroscience perspective

Jeremy R. Gray a1 and Todd S. Braver a1
a1 Department of Psychology, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130


The primrose path and prisoner's dilemma paradigms may require cognitive (executive) control: The active maintenance of context representations in lateral prefrontal cortex to provide top-down support for specific behaviors in the face of short delays or stronger response tendencies. This perspective suggests further tests of whether altruism is a type of self-control, including brain imaging, induced affect, and dual-task studies.