Paper Link: Affective Motivations in Social Behaviour
Abstract: Virtually every action requires some degree of social consideration. This might be the beliefs, feelings, or actions of another individual, or more broadly, the codes of conduct informed by cultural customs and social norms. My work seeks to understand how we integrate this complex social information with more self-interested motivations when making everyday decisions. For example, why do we tip restaurant servers, cab drivers, and coffee baristas? In this talk, I will present work that shows that we receive psychological payoffs in the form of emotions such as guilt that motivate us to minimize harming or disappointing our relationship partners. While these feelings can facilitate the development of close interpersonal relationships, they can also have significant psychological costs. For example, some people might be willing to exhaust all of their financial resources to save the life of loved one, child, or pet. These types of surrogate decisions can have enormous implications for healthcare, business, and also governmental decision-making.