Neural Mechanisms of Social Influence

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Vol. 110, No. 2, pp. 152-159, 2009

33 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2011

See all articles by Malia Mason

Malia Mason

Columbia Business School - Management

Michael I. Norton

Harvard Business School - Marketing Unit

Rebecca Dyer

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

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.

Keywords: social neuroscience, social influence, social norms, preferences, brain, consumer behavior, normative influence, informational influence

Suggested Citation

Mason, Malia and Norton, Michael I. and Dyer, Rebecca, Neural Mechanisms of Social Influence (2009). Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Vol. 110, No. 2, pp. 152-159, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1951642

Malia Mason (Contact Author)

Columbia Business School - Management ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Michael I. Norton

Harvard Business School - Marketing Unit ( email )

Soldiers Field
Boston, MA 02163
United States

Rebecca Dyer

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

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