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The social contingency of momentary subjective well-being

Rutledge, RB; de Berker, AO; Espenhahn, S; Dayan, P; Dolan, RJ; (2016) The social contingency of momentary subjective well-being. Nature Communications , 7 , Article 11825. 10.1038/ncomms11825. Green open access

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Abstract

Although social comparison is a known determinant of overall life satisfaction, it is not clear how it affects moment-to-moment variation in subjective emotional state. Using a novel social decision task combined with computational modelling, we show that a participant's subjective emotional state reflects not only the impact of rewards they themselves receive, but also the rewards received by a social partner. Unequal outcomes, whether advantageous or disadvantageous, reduce average momentary happiness. Furthermore, the relative impacts of advantageous and disadvantageous inequality on momentary happiness at the individual level predict a subject's generosity in a separate dictator game. These findings demonstrate a powerful social influence upon subjective emotional state, where emotional reactivity to inequality is strongly predictive of altruism in an independent task domain.

Type: Article
Title: The social contingency of momentary subjective well-being
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/ncomms11825
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms11825
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author(s), 2016. All rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Biological sciences, Neuroscience
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1499882
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