Motivation, Emotion, Feeding, DrinkingCultural objects modulate reward circuitryErk, Susanne; Spitzer, Manfred; Wunderlich, Arthur P.1; Galley, Lars2; Walter, HenrikCA Author Information Departments of Psychiatry and 1Diagnostic Radiology, University Clinic Ulm, Leimgrubenweg 12, 89075 Ulm 2Daimler Chrysler Research Center, Berlin, Germany CACorresponding Author: [email protected] Received 22 October 2002; accepted 1 November 2002 NeuroReport: December 20, 2002 - Volume 13 - Issue 18 - p 2499-2503 Buy Abstract Using event-related fMRI we investigated the rewarding properties of cultural objects (cars) signaling wealth and social dominance. It has been shown recently that reward mechanisms are involved in the regulation of social relations like dominance and social rank. Based on evolutionary considerations we hypothesized that sports cars in contrast to other categories of cars, e.g. limousines and small cars, are strong social reinforcers and would modulate the dopaminergic reward circuitry. Twelve healthy male subjects were studied with fMRI while viewing photographs of different carclasses followed by an attractivity rating. Behaviorally sports cars were rated significantly more attractive than limousines and small cars. Our fMRI results revealed significantly more activation in ventral striatum, orbitofrontal cortex, anterior cingulate and occipital regions for sports cars in contrast to other categories of cars. We could thus demonstrate that artificial cultural objects associated with wealth and social dominance elicit activation in reward-related brain areas. © 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.