2020-08-19Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00818
A Multidimensional View on Social and Non-Social Rewards
Social rewards are a broad and heterogeneous set of stimuli including for instance smiling faces, gestures, or praise. They have been widely investigated in cognitive and social neuroscience as well as psychology. Research often contrasts the neural processing of social rewards with non-social ones, with the aim to demonstrate the privileged and unique nature of social rewards or to examine shared neural processing underlying them. However, such comparisons mostly neglect other important dimensions of rewards that are conflated in those types of rewards: primacy, temporal proximity, duration, familiarity, source, tangibility, naturalness, and magnitude. We identify how commonly used rewards in both social and non-social domains may differ in respect to these dimensions and how their interaction calls for careful consideration of alternative interpretations of observed effects. Additionally, we propose potential solutions on how to adapt the multidimensional view to experimental research. Altogether, these methodological considerations aim to inform and improve future experimental designs in research utilizing rewarding stimuli, especially in the social domain.
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