The Effect of Social Value Orientation on Theta to Alpha Ratio in Resource Allocation Games

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Abstract

The social value orientation (SVO) has a profound effect on the strategic decision making in economic choices and the ability to succeed in coordination games. With that in mind, in this study we wanted to examine an electrophysiological measure elicited in different resource allocation problems that affect the preferences of the player. We recorded EEG from participants while they were engaged in different allocation problems varying in the magnitude of reward and the difference size between alternative choices. We found that the theta to alpha ratio (TAR) can differentiate between individualistic and prosocial players. Specifically, individualistic players were more sensitive to the magnitude of the overall payoff (reflected by the radius size) as well as to the difference between two reward alternatives in the resource allocation task. These two variables, reward magnitude, and the difference between payoff alternatives, have significantly differentiated between the TAR levels of prosocials and proselfs (p < 0.001). For extreme differences (small or large), TAR was higher in comparison to medium sized differences. Our results demonstrated that in resource allocation games the TAR can be predicted based on the parameters of the task and the SVO category of the player (prosocial or individualistic). Specifically, an interaction was found between the attractiveness of the reward (radius) as well as the conflict between alternatives (Δ∅) and the SVO of the player at a significance level of p < 0.0001. These results highlight the importance of the SVO construct in economic decision choices varying in both reward magnitude and the proximity between alternative choices. Suggestions for future studies are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number146
JournalInformation (Switzerland)
Volume14
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2023

Keywords

  • EEG
  • resource allocation tasks
  • social value orientation
  • statistical modeling

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