Decision-Making in Social Context

Contact: Prof. Dr. Soyoung Q Park, Dr. Damiano Terenzi, Dr. Eva Fröhlich, Dr. Annabel Losecaat Vermeer

Funding: DFG, DZD

Did you choose the lunch menu because your colleague had also chosen it?

As social beings, human choice is strongly influenced by others. Humans tend to adjust choice to what others are looking at, or might want as well. We have shown that people are willing to pay more money for items that are looked at by others (Madipakkam et al., 2019, Sci. Rep.; Terenzi et al., in prep). Choices also strongly depend on information that is provided by others (Bellucci et al., 2019, Nat. Comm.; Bellucci et al., 2020, J. Exp. Psychol. Gen.).

On the other hand, diverse metabolic processes can also modulate human behavior towards the social environment. For instance, the macronutrient composition of the food we eat can change metabolic responses, impacting our social behavior via brain function (Strang et al., 2017, PNAS). We investigate how the social environment, such as social network or loneliness, can change our choices.

Secondly, we investigate how brain and body function can impact social decisions such as trust decisions. Specifically, we focus on the neuroendocrine control underlying social decisions, such as oxytocin, cortisol and testosterone. In recent studies, we administered intranasal oxytocin and testosterone to selectively impact choices as well as metabolic responses (Strang et al., 2017, PNEC; Melkonyan et al., 2020, J. Neuroendocrinol.; Lange et al., in prep; Losecaat Vermeer et al., in prep).