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Direct and Indirect Influence of Altruistic Behavior in a Social Network.

Liu PP, Safin V, Yang B, Luhmann CC - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: Results revealed the presence of direct social influence, but no evidence for indirect influence.Results also showed that selfish behavior exerted a substantially greater influence than generous behavior.Finally, expectations about future partners' behavior strongly mediated the observed social influence, suggesting an adaptive basis for such influence.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Prior research has suggested that recipients of generosity behave more generously themselves (a direct social influence). In contrast, there is conflicting evidence about the existence of indirect influence (i.e., whether interacting with a recipient of generosity causes one to behave more generously), casting doubt on the possibility that altruistic behavior can cascade through social networks. The current study investigated how far selfish and generous behavior can be transmitted through social networks and the cognitive mechanisms that underlie such transmission. Participants played a sequence of public goods games comprising a chain network. This network is advantageous because it permits only a single, unambiguous path of influence. Furthermore, we experimentally manipulated the behavior of the first link in the chain to be either generous or selfish. Results revealed the presence of direct social influence, but no evidence for indirect influence. Results also showed that selfish behavior exerted a substantially greater influence than generous behavior. Finally, expectations about future partners' behavior strongly mediated the observed social influence, suggesting an adaptive basis for such influence.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

The network used in the current study.In each chain, the Seed Node first interacted with the Node-1 player. The Node-1 player then interacted with the Node-2 player. The Node-2 player then interacted with Node-3 player. Node-1 and Node-2 players were human participants, whereas the Seed Node and Node-3 players were under experimental control.
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pone.0140357.g001: The network used in the current study.In each chain, the Seed Node first interacted with the Node-1 player. The Node-1 player then interacted with the Node-2 player. The Node-2 player then interacted with Node-3 player. Node-1 and Node-2 players were human participants, whereas the Seed Node and Node-3 players were under experimental control.

Mentions: The networks used in the current study were chains, each with four nodes (see Fig 1). In these chains, the Seed Node first interacted with the Node-1 player in a single-round of the public goods game. The Node-1 player then interacted with the Node-2 player in a single-round public goods game. Finally, the Node-2 player interacted with the Node-3 player in a single-round public goods game. In this way, each Node-1 player and each Node-2 player played two rounds of the public goods game, interacting with a different partner in each round. Each of them made one choice before observing the behavior of a partner (i.e., in the first game) and made one choice after observing the behavior of a partner (i.e., in the second game).


Direct and Indirect Influence of Altruistic Behavior in a Social Network.

Liu PP, Safin V, Yang B, Luhmann CC - PLoS ONE (2015)

The network used in the current study.In each chain, the Seed Node first interacted with the Node-1 player. The Node-1 player then interacted with the Node-2 player. The Node-2 player then interacted with Node-3 player. Node-1 and Node-2 players were human participants, whereas the Seed Node and Node-3 players were under experimental control.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4607358&req=5

pone.0140357.g001: The network used in the current study.In each chain, the Seed Node first interacted with the Node-1 player. The Node-1 player then interacted with the Node-2 player. The Node-2 player then interacted with Node-3 player. Node-1 and Node-2 players were human participants, whereas the Seed Node and Node-3 players were under experimental control.
Mentions: The networks used in the current study were chains, each with four nodes (see Fig 1). In these chains, the Seed Node first interacted with the Node-1 player in a single-round of the public goods game. The Node-1 player then interacted with the Node-2 player in a single-round public goods game. Finally, the Node-2 player interacted with the Node-3 player in a single-round public goods game. In this way, each Node-1 player and each Node-2 player played two rounds of the public goods game, interacting with a different partner in each round. Each of them made one choice before observing the behavior of a partner (i.e., in the first game) and made one choice after observing the behavior of a partner (i.e., in the second game).

Bottom Line: Results revealed the presence of direct social influence, but no evidence for indirect influence.Results also showed that selfish behavior exerted a substantially greater influence than generous behavior.Finally, expectations about future partners' behavior strongly mediated the observed social influence, suggesting an adaptive basis for such influence.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Prior research has suggested that recipients of generosity behave more generously themselves (a direct social influence). In contrast, there is conflicting evidence about the existence of indirect influence (i.e., whether interacting with a recipient of generosity causes one to behave more generously), casting doubt on the possibility that altruistic behavior can cascade through social networks. The current study investigated how far selfish and generous behavior can be transmitted through social networks and the cognitive mechanisms that underlie such transmission. Participants played a sequence of public goods games comprising a chain network. This network is advantageous because it permits only a single, unambiguous path of influence. Furthermore, we experimentally manipulated the behavior of the first link in the chain to be either generous or selfish. Results revealed the presence of direct social influence, but no evidence for indirect influence. Results also showed that selfish behavior exerted a substantially greater influence than generous behavior. Finally, expectations about future partners' behavior strongly mediated the observed social influence, suggesting an adaptive basis for such influence.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus