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Neural mechanisms of social influence

  • Mason, Malia F.
  • Dyer, Rebecca
  • Norton, Michael I.
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    The present investigation explores the neural mechanisms underlying the impact of social influence on preferences. We socially tagged symbols as valued or not - by exposing participants to the preferences of their peers - and assessed subsequent brain activity during an incidental processing task in which participants viewed popular, unpopular, and novel symbols. The medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) differentiated between symbols that were and were not socially tagged - a possible index of normative influence - while aspects of the striatum (the caudate) differentiated between popular and unpopular symbols - a possible index of informational influence. These results suggest that integrating activity in these two brain regions may differentiate objects that have become valued as a result of social influence from those valued for non-social reasons.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6WP2-4W7RJX4-1/2/d66015c587f17b19befbecf10b417051
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

    Volume (Year): 110 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 2 (November)
    Pages: 152-159

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:110:y:2009:i:2:p:152-159
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/obhdp

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    1. Fliessbach, Klaus & Weber, Bernd & Trautner, P. & Dohmen, Thomas J. & Sunde, Uwe & Elger, C. E. & Falk, Armin, 2007. "Social comparison affects reward-related brain activity in the human ventral striatum," Munich Reprints in Economics 20362, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    2. Jonah Berger & Chip Heath, 2007. "Where Consumers Diverge from Others: Identity Signaling and Product Domains," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(2), pages 121-134, 06.
    3. Harrison Hong & Jeffrey D. Kubik & Jeremy C. Stein, 2001. "Social Interaction and Stock-Market Participation," NBER Working Papers 8358, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Bikhchandani, Sushil & Hirshleifer, David & Welch, Ivo, 1992. "A Theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom, and Cultural Change in Informational Cascades," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 992-1026, October.
    5. Kilduff, Martin, 1990. "The interpersonal structure of decision making: A social comparison approach to organizational choice," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 270-288, December.
    6. Banerjee, Abhijit V, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817, August.
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