Neural computations underpinning the strategic management of influence in advice giving

Uri Hertz, Stefano Palminteri, Silvia Brunetti, Cecilie Olesen, Chris D. Frith, Bahador Bahrami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research on social influence has focused mainly on the target of influence (e.g., consumer and voter); thus, the cognitive and neurobiological underpinnings of the source of the influence (e.g., politicians and salesmen) remain unknown. Here, in a three-sided advice-giving game, two advisers competed to influence a client by modulating their own confidence in their advice about which lottery the client should choose. We report that advisers' strategy depends on their level of influence on the client and their merit relative to one another. Moreover, blood-oxygenation-level-dependent (BOLD) signal in the temporo-parietal junction is modulated by adviser's current level of influence on the client, and relative merit prediction error affects activity in medial-prefrontal cortex. Both types of social information modulate ventral striatum response. By demonstrating what happens in our mind and brain when we try to influence others, these results begin to explain the biological mechanisms that shape inter-individual differences in social conduct.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2191
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
U.H. and B.B. are supported by the European Research Council (NeuroCoDec 309865). S.P. was supported by a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual European Fellowship (PIEF-GA-2012 Grant 328822) and is currently supported by an ATIP-Avenir grant (R16069JS) and a Collaborative Research in Computational Neuroscience ANR-NSF grant (ANR-16-NEUC-0004). C.D.F. is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (grant AH/M005933/1).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry (all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)
  • Physics and Astronomy (all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Neural computations underpinning the strategic management of influence in advice giving'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this