Social rank and social cooperation: Impact of social comparison processes on cooperative decision-making
SourcePLoS One, 12, 4, (2017), article e0175472
Article / Letter to editor
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Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging
PI Group Decision Neuroscience
SW OZ BSI SCP
Subject140 000 Decision neuroscience; Behaviour Change and Well-being
Successful navigation of our complex social world requires the capability to recognize and judge the relative status of others. Hence, social comparison processes are of great importance in our interactions, informing us of our relative standing and in turn potentially motivating our behavior. However, so far few studies have examined in detail how social comparison can influence interpersonal decision-making. One aspect of social decision-making that is of particular importance is cooperative behavior, and identifying means of maintaining and promoting cooperation in the provision of public goods is of vital interest to society. Here, we manipulated social comparison by grading performance rankings on a reaction time task, and then measured cooperative decisions via a modified Public Goods Game (PGG). Findings revealed that individuals ranked highest tended to be more cooperative as compared to those who placed in the bottom rank. Interestingly, this effect was regardless of whether the comparison group members were the subsequent players in the PGG or not, and this effect was stronger in those with higher social orientation. In summary, the present research shows how different social comparison processes (assessed via social rankings) can operate in our daily interaction with others, demonstrating an important effect on cooperative behavior.
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