Effect of social influence on effort-allocation for monetary rewards.


Gilman JM, Treadway MT, Curran MT, Calderon V, Evins EA. Effect of social influence on effort-allocation for monetary rewards. PLoS One. 2015;10 (5) :e0126656.

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Though decades of research have shown that people are highly influenced by peers, few studies have directly assessed how the value of social conformity is weighed against other types of costs and benefits. Using an effort-based decision-making paradigm with a novel social influence manipulation, we measured how social influence affected individuals' decisions to allocate effort for monetary rewards during trials with either high or low probability of receiving a reward. We found that information about the effort-allocation of peers modulated participant choices, specifically during conditions of low probability of obtaining a reward. This suggests that peer influence affects effort-based choices to obtain rewards especially under conditions of risk. This study provides evidence that people value social conformity in addition to other costs and benefits when allocating effort, and suggests that neuroeconomic studies that assess trade-offs between effort and reward should consider social environment as a factor that can influence decision-making.