Project

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Neurological signatures of learning in social environments

English title Neurological signatures of learning in social environments
Applicant Klucharev Vasily
Number 130352
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Fakultät für Psychologie Universität Basel
Institution of higher education University of Basel - BS
Main discipline Psychology
Start/End 01.11.2010 - 31.03.2014
Approved amount 269'898.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Psychology
Neurophysiology and Brain Research

Keywords (8)

social influence; neuroeconomics; learning; decision making; conformity; social learning; prediction error; social dilemma

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
The project examines the neural mechanisms underlying social influence. We suggest that recently discussed neuroscientific and computational models of goal-directed behavior can also describe cognitive processes of social influence. These models assume that goal-directed behavior requires continuous performance monitoring. Successful behavioral patterns are reinforced while errors call for adjustments of behavior. Reward prediction error guide decision making by signaling the need for the adjustment of behavior. We suggest that social influence can also lead to changes of behavior similar to reinforcement learning mechanisms. We investigate behavior in social interactions, where the outcome of a person's decision also depends on the decisions of other persons. In such a situation, one person's self-interest in receiving a high personal payoff could be in conflict with another person's self-interest in maximizing their own payoff. We hypothesize that dopamine reward prediction signals monitor changes of individual and social rewards. In another subproject informational and normative social influences are examined. Information social influence (or informational conformity) exists when people infer useful information from others' behavior to improve their judgments and decisions. In contrast, normative social influence exists when people simply conform to other behavior to fulfill their expectations and to gain their approval. In particular, we are interested in whether a learning process that changes behavior differs for informational as opposed to normative social influence. Overall, the current project aims to examine whether standard prediction errors that have been observed for individual learning task provide a fruitful concept to examine social influences on behavior. In particular, we examine whether social information or behavior of other lead to error signals comparable to error signals in the learning literature and whether they are represented by the same neural networks.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Name Institute

Publications

Publication
Neural correlates of informational cascades: brain mechanisms of social influence on belief updating
Huber Rafael E., Klucharev Vasily, Rieskamp Jörg (2015), Neural correlates of informational cascades: brain mechanisms of social influence on belief updating, in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 10(4), 589-597.
Electrophysiological precursors of social conformity.
Shestakova Anna, Rieskamp Jörg, Tugin Sergey M., Ossadtchi Alex E., Krutitskaya Janina, Klucharev Vasily (2013), Electrophysiological precursors of social conformity., in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 8(7), 756-763.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Saint Petersburg State University Russia (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Annual Conference on Neuroeconomics Poster MEG precursors of social conformity 27.09.2013 Lausanne, Switzerland Klucharev Vasily;
Annual Conference on Neuroeconomics Poster Neural correlates of informational cascades: brain mechanisms of social influence on belief updating. 28.09.2012 Miami, Florida, USA, United States of America Klucharev Vasily; Huber Rafael;
1st Conference of the European Society for Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Talk given at a conference Neural mechanisms of social influence 09.05.2012 Marseille, France, France Klucharev Vasily;
Annual Conference on Neuroeconomics Poster Neural mechanisms of the tragedy of commons 30.09.2011 Evanston, Illinois, USA, United States of America Klucharev Vasily; Huber Rafael;
Bayesian and Cognitive Science Workshop Individual talk Neural correlates of informational cascades: brain mechanisms of social influence on belief updating. 26.08.2011 Amsterdam, The Netherlands., Germany Huber Rafael;
Summer Institute on Bounded Rationality Talk given at a conference Brain mechanisms of social influence on belief updating. 21.06.2011 Max Planck Institute fo RHuman Development, Berlin, Germany, Austria Huber Rafael;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Crowd behaviour: United they stand Financial Times International 2011

Abstract

The proposed research project examines the neural mechanisms underlying social influence. We suggest that recently discussed neuroscientific and computational models of goal-directed behavior can also describe cognitive processes of social influence. These models assume that goal-directed behavior requires continuous performance monitoring (Montague et al., 2006). Successful behavioral patterns are reinforced while errors call for adjustments of behavior. Reward prediction error guides decision making by signaling the need for adjustment of behavior. We suggest that social influence also evokes learning based on reinforcement learning mechanisms, which occurs via reward prediction errors. In the proposed Study 1, we will examine social and nonsocial reward prediction errors within the dopaminergic system of the human brain. More specifically we will study the spatial overlap of predic-tion-error signals generated in nonsocial and social contexts. In Study 2 we extend this research to situations with social interactions, that is, where the outcome of a person’s decision also depends on the decisions of other persons. In such a situation, one person’s self-interest in receiving a high personal payoff could be in conflict with another person’s self-interest in maximizing their own payoff. Again we hypothesize (Experiments 3 and 4) that dopamine reward prediction signals monitor changes of individual and social rewards. In Study 3 (Experiments 5 and 6) we will explore the different types of social influences in more details. Two types of social influences can be distinguished (Cialdini & Goldstein, 2004): First information social influence (or informational conformity) exists when people infer useful information from others’ behavior to improve their judg-ments and decisions. In contrast, normative social influence exists when people simply conform to other behavior to fulfill their expectations and to gain their approval. The goal of Study 3 is to explore the cognitive and neural proc-esses underlying both types of social influences. In particular, we are interested in whether a learning process that changes behavior differs if the source of the prediction error is due to informational in comparison to normative social influence. We will use the information cascade paradigm as an elegant opportunity to disentangle normative and informational components of social influence. Our procedure allows us to study the modulation of error signal by informational and normative components of social influence. Overall, the proposed project aims to examine (a) whether objective (standard) and social (underlying social influence) reward prediction-error signals are generated by the same or different neuronal networks; (b) whether the reward prediction-error signals monitor changes of individual and shared (common) rewards differently, and (c) whether informational and normative components of social influence are reflected differently in neural error signals.
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