Supplementary Figure 5: Other-conferred utility (OCU) predicts asymmetric, risk preference-congruent, conformity: risk-seeking example. | Nature Neuroscience

Supplementary Figure 5: Other-conferred utility (OCU) predicts asymmetric, risk preference-congruent, conformity: risk-seeking example.

From: Social signals of safety and risk confer utility and have asymmetric effects on observers' choices

Supplementary Figure 5

The proposed other-conferred utility model hypothesizes that Uwith OCU = Usolo + OCU, where OCU is a constant increase in utility of the gamble chosen by others. Depending on the concavity (ρ) of an individual’s utility power function, Uwith OCU will exceed a limited range of the Usolo predicted gambles; those gambles for which Uwith OCU > Usolo have an increased likelihood of being chosen. The model and predictions are schematically depicted here for ρ > 1, risk seeking. The figure shows Usolo for a typical risk seeking individual (plotted here using basic power utility function U(x) = xρ and our top quintile average ρ = 1.48, black line; see Online Methods for complete model estimation details). For clarity, we limit our illustration to a single menu of uniformly distributed gambles in which the high and low payoffs for the safe and risky gambles are held constant, but the probabilities vary (per Holt & Laury10). The x-axis represents each gamble’s Usolo value (i.e., V = Usolo–1(EU), where EU = expected utility = [pgamble (Vhigh payoff)ρ + (1 – pgamble)(Vlow payoff)ρ]. The reference point (V0) is the value associated with the mean expected utility of safe gambles (V0 = Usolo–1(EUsafe)) which is flanked to the left and right by values associated with risky gambles. When others choose the safe gamble (blue arrow at V0), OCU is conferred to that option, and the resultant Uwith OCU(V0) exceeds Usolo for originally preferred gambles between V0 and V1 (indicated by the blue bar). When others choose the risky gamble (red arrow at V2, for comparison mirroring V1 and symmetric around V0), the resulting Uwith OCU(V2) exceeds Usolo for originally preferred gambles between V2 and V3 (indicated by the red bar). Notice that in all cases, OCU from risky others will have influence over a greater range of gambles (red bar) than will OCU from safe others (blue bar; simply: V3 – V2 > V1 – V0), demonstrating that for risk seeking, the influence of risky others will always exceed that of safe others. As detailed throughout, this asymmetry predicts preference-biased conformity when making decisions about uncertain options. The complementary example for risk-averse individuals is shown in the main text, Fig. 2a.

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