The Role of the Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex in Preferential Decisions for Own- and Other-Age Faces

Ayahito Ito, Kazuki Yoshida, Ryuta Aoki, Toshikatsu Fujii, Iori Kawasaki, Akiko Hayashi, Aya Ueno, Shinya Sakai, Shunji Mugikura, Shoki Takahashi, Etsuro Mori

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Own-age bias is a well-known bias reflecting the effects of age, and its role has been demonstrated, particularly, in face recognition. However, it remains unclear whether an own-age bias exists in facial impression formation. In the present study, we used three datasets from two published and one unpublished functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study that employed the same pleasantness rating task with fMRI scanning and preferential choice task after the fMRI to investigate whether healthy young and older participants showed own-age effects in face preference. Specifically, we employed a drift-diffusion model to elaborate the existence of own-age bias in the processes of preferential choice. The behavioral results showed higher rating scores and higher drift rate for young faces than for older faces, regardless of the ages of participants. We identified a young-age effect, but not an own-age effect. Neuroimaging results from aggregation analysis of the three datasets suggest a possibility that the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) was associated with evidence accumulation of own-age faces; however, no clear evidence was provided. Importantly, we found no age-related decline in the responsiveness of the vmPFC to subjective pleasantness of faces, and both young and older participants showed a contribution of the vmPFC to the parametric representation of the subjective value of face and functional coupling between the vmPFC and ventral visual area, which reflects face preference. These results suggest that the preferential choice of face is less susceptible to the own-age bias across the lifespan of individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number822234
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Mar 11
Externally publishedYes


  • connectivity
  • face
  • functional magnetic brain imaging
  • other-age
  • own-age
  • preference
  • subjective value

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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