Data_Sheet_1_Vicarious Rewards Modulate the Drift Rate of Evidence Accumulation From the Drift Diffusion Model.docx
Taking other people’s interests into account is a fundamental ability allowing humans to maintain relationships. Yet, the mechanisms by which monetary incentives for close others influence perceptual decision-making processes remain elusive. Here, we compared perceptual decisions motivated by payoffs for oneself or a close relative. According to drift diffusion models (DDMs), perceptual decisions are made when sensory evidence accumulated over time – with a given drift rate – reaches one of the decision boundaries. We used these computational models to identify whether the drift rate of evidence accumulation or the decision boundary is affected by these two sources of motivation. Reaction times and sensitivity were modulated by three factors: the Difficulty (motion coherence of the moving dots), the Payoff associated with, and the Beneficiary of the decision. Reaction times (RTs) were faster for easy compared to difficult trials and faster for high payoffs as compared to low payoffs. More interestingly, RTs were also faster for self than for other-affecting decisions. Finally, using DDM, we found that these faster RTs were linked to a higher drift rate of the decision variable. This study offers a mechanistic understanding of how incentives for others and motion coherence influence decision-making processes.