Chan, H.-Y., Smidts, A., Schoots, V. C., Dietvorst, R. C., & Boksem, M. A. S. (2019). Neural similarity at temporal lobe and cerebellum predicts out-of-sample preference and recall for video stimuli. NeuroImage, 197, 391–401.

The extent to which brains respond similarly to a specific stimulus, across a small group of individuals, has been previously found to predict out-of-sample aggregate preference for that stimulus. However, the location in the brain where neural similarity predicts out-of-sample preference remains unclear. In this article, we attempt to identify the neural substrates in three functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies. Two fMRI studies (N = 40 and 20), using previously broadcasted TV commercials, show that spatiotemporal neural similarity at temporal lobe and cerebellum predict out-of-sample preference and recall. A follow-up fMRI study (N = 28) with previously unseen movie-trailers replicated the predictive effect of neural similarity. Moreover, neural similarity provided unique information on out-of-sample preference above and beyond in-sample preference. Overall, the findings suggest that neural similarity at temporal lobe and cerebellum – traditionally associated with sensory integration and emotional processing – may reflect the level of engagement with video stimuli.

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