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The Expression and Transfer of Valence Associated with Social Conformity.


Consensus seeking - abandoning one's own judgment to align with a group majority - is a fundamental feature of human social interaction. Notably, such striving for majority affiliation often occurs in the absence of any apparent economic or social gain, suggesting that achieving consensus might have intrinsic value. Here, using a simple gambling task, in which the decisions of ostensible previous gamblers were indicated below available options on each trial, we examined the affective properties of agreeing with a group majority by assessing the trade-off between social and non-social currencies, and the transfer of social valence to concomitant stimuli. In spite of demonstrating near-perfect knowledge of objective reward probabilities, participant's choices and evaluative judgments reflected a reliable preference for conformity, consistent with the hypothesized value of social alignment.

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