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Publication - Dr David Turk

    We are more selfish than we think

    The endowment effect and reward processing within the human medial-frontal cortex


    Hassall, CD, Silver, A, Turk, DJ & Krigolson, OE, 2016, ‘We are more selfish than we think: The endowment effect and reward processing within the human medial-frontal cortex’. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, vol 69., pp. 1676-1686


    Perceived ownership has been shown to impact a variety of cognitive processes: attention, memory, and—more recently—reward processing. In the present experiment we examined whether or not perceived ownership would interact with the construct of value—the relative worth of an object. Participants completed a simple gambling game in which they gambled either for themselves or for another while electroencephalographic data were recorded. In a key manipulation, gambles for oneself or for another were for either small or large rewards. We tested the hypothesis that value affects the neural response to self-gamble outcomes, but not other-gamble outcomes. Our experimental data revealed that while participants learned the correct response option for both self and other gambles, the reward positivity evoked by wins was impacted by value only when gambling for oneself. Importantly, our findings provide additional evidence for a self-ownership bias in cognitive processing and further demonstrate the insensitivity of the medial-frontal reward system to gambles for another.

    Full details in the University publications repository