Navigation Links
Peer pressure? It's hardwired into our brains
Date:9/6/2011

The rewards outweigh the risks when you're in a group, anyway.

A new USC study explains why people take stupid chances when all of their friends are watching that they would never take by themselves. According to the study, the human brain places more value on winning in a social setting than it does on winning when you're alone.

Georgio Coricelli of the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences led a multinational team of researchers that measured activity in the regions of the brain associated with rewards and with social reasoning while participants in the study entered in lotteries.

Their study appears this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers found that the striatum, a part of the brain associated with rewards, showed higher activity when a participant beat a peer in the lottery, as opposed to when the participant won while alone. The medial prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain associated with social reasoning, was more activated as well. Those participants who won in a social setting also tended to engage in more risky and competitive behavior in subsequent lotteries.

"These findings suggest that the brain is equipped with the ability to detect and encode social signals, make social signals salient, and then, use these signals to optimize future behavior," Coricelli said.

As Coricelli explained, in private environments, losing can more easily be life-threatening. With no social support network in place, a bad gamble can spell doom.

In group environments, on the other hand, rewards tend to be winner-takes-all. Nowhere is this more clear than in sexual competition, where -- to borrow a phrase from racing legend Dale Earnhardt, Sr. -- second place is just first loser.

"Among animals, there are strong incentives for wanting to be at the top of the social ranking," Coricelli said. "Animals in the dominant position use their status to secure privileged access to resources, such as food and mates."


'/>"/>

Contact: Robert Perkins
perkinsr@usc.edu
213-740-9226
University of Southern California
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Is it really only our kidneys that control blood pressure?
2. Old and young brains rely on different systems to remember emotional content
3. Rice University psychologist finds womens brains recognize, encode smell of male sexual sweat
4. Our brains make their own marijuana: Were all pot heads deep inside
5. Snakes and how they helped our big brains evolve
6. Monkey brains signal the desire to explore
7. Scientists remove amyloid plaques from brains of live animals with Alzheimers disease
8. Stimulus grant of nearly $9 million to UC San Diego funds big study of young brains
9. Ladder-walking locusts show big brains arent always best
10. Bigger not necessarily better, when it comes to brains
11. New neuroimaging analysis technique identifies impact of Alzheimers disease gene in healthy brains
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/15/2016)... DUBLIN , Nov 15, 2016 Research ... - Global Forecast to 2021" report to their offering. ... ... reach USD 16.18 Billion by 2021 from USD 6.21 Billion in ... Growth of the bioinformatics market is driven by ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... 22, 2016   Acuant , the ... solutions, has partnered with RightCrowd ® ... Visitor Management, Self-Service Kiosks and Continuous Workforce ... add functional enhancements to existing physical access ... venues with an automated ID verification and ...
(Date:6/15/2016)... 2016 Transparency Market Research ... Market by Application Market - Global Industry Analysis Size Share ... the report, the  global gesture recognition market  was ... is estimated to grow at a CAGR of ... Increasing application of gesture recognition technology ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2016)... Part of 5m$ Investment in Integrated ... ... LLC today announced that it had successfully completed the expansion ... have increased the Screening Collection to over 400,000. The new ... of the company. This expansion, complemented by new robotics and ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... ... 30, 2016 , ... Energetiq Technology, a world leader in ... ultra-bright, Laser-Driven Light Source, the EQ-77, at the MRS Fall Exhibit 2016. , ... higher radiance and irradiance from a truly broadband white light source. The EQ-77 ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... ... ... With growth rates averaging more than 30% each year, Random42 has quickly ... their expansion in their new office space. The new office has a fantastic location ... creative industries, so Random42 Scientific Communication will fit right in. , Ben Ramsbottom, ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... Connecticut , November 30, 2016 ... die integrierte Medikamententdeckung    ... , , ... Prüfbibliothek erfolgreich erweitert zu haben. Zusätzliche 150.000 neuartige Substanzen ... Substanzen wurden sorgfältig ausgewählt, um die starken Entdeckungsfähigkeiten des ...
Breaking Biology Technology: