Wishing a friend happy birthday or spending a long period of time listening to their problems signifies commitment to the friendship. In other words, these actions serve as commitment signals (*1) and it is known that people value their relationships more with others who behave this way towards them.
Researchers from several Japanese universities have revealed that the orbitofrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for calculating economic value, is also responsible for judging the value of relationships with friends based on the received commitment signals.
The research group consisted of Professor OHTSUBO Yohsuke (Graduate School of Humanities, Kobe University), Professor OHIRA Hideki (Graduate School of Informatics, Nagoya University), Aichi Medical University’s Lecturer MATSUNAGA Masahiro (and the Department of Health and Psychosocial Medicine research team), and Lecturer HIMICHI Toshiyuki (Kochi University of Technology).
These findings were published in the online edition of ‘Social Neuroscience’ on September 25.