The exchange, announcement, of private information and opinions, which finally inspire action, 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 reputation, influence, and personal traits and inclinations that could impact it.
To study this process we developed a novel task to evaluate the strategies that an adviser may utilize when transmitting information. On a trial by trial basis the participant has access to a probability of reward being in one of two locations. He is then asked to advise a client about the location of the reward using a confidence scale. The client has another adviser, and after each trial updates the influence weights assigned to each adviser according to the outcome and confidence reports. In the beginning of each trial, the advisor (i.e. participant) is informed if the client has chosen to follow him or his peer.
Read our paper, recently accepted at Nature Communications:
Hertz U., Palminteri S., Brunetti S., Olesen C., Frith C. D., Bahrami B.; Neural computations underpinning the strategic management of influence in advice giving; Bioarxiv: [Read]
Play the demo of the advice-giving experiment here.
Here is an illustration of the advice-giving situation. It is published with more details in Uta and Chris Frith's blog.