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.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This project received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant agreement 309865, NEUROCODEC; Grant agreement 819040, rid-O). B.B. was supported by Humboldt Foundation and Nomis Foundation. U.H. was also supported by the John Templeton Foundation, and by the by the National Institute of Psychobiology in Israel (211-19-20), and by the Israel Science Foundation (1532/20). We thank Deborah Ain for editing the manuscript.
© 2020, The Author(s).
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