BY RITA CHARON
The effective practice of medicine requires narrative competence, that is, the ability to acknowledge, absorb, interpret, and act on the stories and plights of others. Medicine practiced with narrative competence, called narrative medicine, is proposed as a model for humane and effective medical practice. Adopting methods such as close reading of literature and reflective writing allows narrative medicine to examine and illuminate 4 of medicine’s central narrative situations: physician and patient, physician and self, physician and colleagues, and physicians and society. With narrative competence, physicians can reach and join their patients in illness, recognize their own personal journeys through medicine, acknowledge kinship with and duties toward other health care professionals, and inaugurate consequential discourse with the public about health care. By bridging the divides that separate physicians from patients, themselves, colleagues, and society, narrative medicine offers fresh opportunities for respectful, empathic, and nourishing medical care.
BY DOMINIC S. FARERI, LUKE J. CHANG AND MAURICIO R. DELGADO
Decisions to engage in collaborative interactions require enduring considerable risk, yet provide the foundation for building and maintaining relationships. Here, we investigate the mechanisms underlying this process and test a computational model of social value to predict collaborative decision making. Twenty-six participants played an iterated trust game and chose to invest more frequently with their friends compared with a confederate or computer despite equal reinforcement rates. This behavior was predicted by our model, which posits that people receive a social value reward signal from reciprocation of collaborative decisions conditional on the closeness of the relationship. This social value signal was associated with increased activity in the ventral striatum and medial prefrontal cortex, which significantly predicted the reward parameters from the social value model. Therefore, we demonstrate that the computation of social value drives collaborative behavior in repeated interactions and provide a mechanistic account of reward circuit function instantiating this process.