Two neurocomputational building blocks of social norm compliance

Matteo Colombo Biology & Philosophy, online first - 2013

Biology & Philosophy


Current explanatory frameworks for social norms pay little attention to why and how brains might carry out computational functions that generate norm compliance behavior. This paper expands on existing literature by laying out the beginnings of a neurocomputational framework for social norms and social cognition, which can be the basis for advancing our understanding of the nature and mechanisms of social norms. Two neurocomputational building blocks are identified that might constitute the core of the mechanism of norm compliance. They consist of Bayesian and reinforcement learning systems. It is sketched why and how the concerted activity of these systems can generate norm compliance by minimization of three specific kinds of prediction-errors.


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