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Social interaction promotes the spread of values, attitudes, and behaviors. Here we report on neural responses to ideas that are destined to spread. Message communicators were scanned using fMRI during their initial exposure to the to-be-communicated ideas. These message communicators then had the opportunity to spread the messages and their corresponding subjective evaluations to message recipients, outside the scanner. Successful ideas were associated with neural responses in the mentalizing system and the reward system when first heard, prior to spreading them. Similarly, individuals more able to spread their own views to others produced greater mentalizing system activity during initial encoding. Unlike prior social influence studies that focus on those being influenced, this investigation focused on the brains of influencers. Successful social influence is reliably associated with an influencer-tobe’s state of mind when first encoding ideas.
social influence, mass media, social interaction, social behavior, neuroimaging
Falk, E. B., Morelli, S. A., Welbourne, B. L., Dambacher, K., & Lieberman, M. D. (2012). Creating Buzz: The Neural Correlates of Effective Message Propagation. Psychological Science, 24 (7), 1234-1242. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797612474670
Date Posted: 23 May 2016