Overbidding, which means bidding over the Nash equilibrium, is commonly observed in competitive social interactions, such as a contest or auction. Recent neuroscience studies show that the right temporoparietal junction (rTPJ) is related to overbidding and associated with inferring the intentions of others during competitive interactions. The present study investigates the neural underpinnings of overbidding and how the rTPJ impacts bidding behavior by using tDCS to modulate the activation of the rTPJ. Participants completed a two-person proportional prize contest, in which overbidding was frequently observed and each participant's share of the prize was equal to the individual's expenditure divided by the aggregated expenditure. We observed a significant tDCS effect, i.e., participants' average expenditure and overbidding rate were significantly reduced in the anodal stimulation compared with the cathodal and sham stimulation. Possible explanations include that enhanced activity in the rTPJ via the anodal stimulation increased the accuracy of a participant's inference of the strategies of others, or a participant's concern for others, and thus helped the participant bid optimally. Our findings provide evidence supporting that the activation of the rTPJ in contests affects overbidding and bidding strategy, and further confirm that the rTPJ is involved in the inference of mental states in a competition context.
- Nash equilibrium