Self-competence increases the willingness to pay for social influence

Uri Hertz, Evangelia Tyropoulou, Cecilie Traberg, Bahador Bahrami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Theoretical works in social psychology and neuroscientific evidence have proposed that social rewards have intrinsic value, suggesting that people place a high premium on the ability to influence others. To test this hypothesis, we asked whether, and under what conditions, people are willing to forgo monetary reward for the sake of influencing others’ decisions. In four experiments, online and lab-based participants competed with a rival for influence over a client. The majority of participants sacrificed some of their financial reward to increase their chance of being selected over their rival within the experiment. Willingness to pay was affected by the participant’s current level of influence and performance, as participants were most likely to pay to promote their competence after having given good advice that had been ignored by the client using a situation where monetary incentives fail to explain human motivations, our experiments highlight the intrinsic value of social influence.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17813
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 20 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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