Social modulation of decision-making: a cross-species review
SourceFrontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7, (2013), article 301
Article / Letter to editor
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Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
SubjectDCN MP - Plasticity and memory
Taking decisions plays a pivotal role in daily life and comprises a complex process of assessing and weighing short-term and long-term costs and benefits of competing actions. Decision-making has been shown to be affected by factors such as sex, age, genotype, and personality. Importantly, also the social environment affects decisions, both via social interactions (e.g., social learning, cooperation and competition) and social stress effects. Although everyone is aware of this social modulating role on daily life decisions, this has thus far only scarcely been investigated in human and animal studies. Furthermore, neuroscientific studies rarely discuss social influence on decision-making from a functional perspective such as done in behavioral ecology studies. Therefore, the first aim of this article is to review the available data of the influence of the social context on decision-making both from a causal and functional perspective, drawing on animal and human studies. Also, there is currently still a gap between decision-making in real life where influences of the social environment are extensive, and decision-making as measured in the laboratory, which is often done without any (deliberate) social influences. However, methods are being developed to bridge this gap. Therefore, the second aim of this review is to discuss these methods and ways in which this gap can be increasingly narrowed. We end this review by formulating future research questions.
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