Research Projects

Advice-Giving and Social Influence

The exchange of private information and opinions, which finally inspire action in others, is at the heart of human social interaction. Flow of information from the most informed party to the least informed one is not as straightforward as it seems. The transmission of information is strictly linked with prestiege, influence, and personal traits and inclinations that could impact it.
We study the cognitive and neural basis of advice giving and management of social status. To study this process we devised an 'advice-giving' game, where two advisers compete for influence over a client's actions. We use computational models to characterize participants' strategic advice-giving in this task. These models provide the basis of neruoimaging investigations, and can be used to shed light on malfunctions in social-cognitive process in clinical populations.
Read a comics explaining our study here.
Play a version of the advice-giving game here.
Read a paper about it here.

Stochastic Satisficing

Every morning most people have to pick a route to work. While the shortest route may be consistently busy, others may be more variable, changing from day to day. The choice of which route to take impacts the commuting time and is ridden with uncertainty. In this project we examine how decision confidence is affected by outcome uncertainty. We found that when choosing between two uncertain options people’s confidence can be best explained as the probability of exceeding an acceptability threshold. Our commuter’s stochastic satisficing heuristic could then be expressed as "which route is more likely to get me to work before X o'clock?"
Read it here.

Learning from Others

Steering our social environment can be baffling and confusing, but it is at the heart of human experience. Like other social animals, like ants and bees, we balance between our own interests, beliefs and values, and those of our peers and society. Learning and adhering to social norms and local moral values is not just a matter of convenience – social norms provide the mechanism allowing large scale cooperation and group cohesion, which is crucial for one’s survival and wellbeing. A number of projects in the lab are investigating the manner in which we learn about groups, their norms costums and values, and how we respond and adapt our behaviour acordingly. These projects use lab based experiments, real-life data from peer production communities, and neuroimaging.