Value of a friend, a friend of your friend, and a friend of the friend of your friend:Social discounting in n degrees of separation

Abstract

Jones and Rachlin (2008) found that the amount of money a person is willing to forgo in order to give $75 to another person decreased as a hyperbolic function of perceived social distance, in the same way as occurs in intertemporal choice. This study aimed to extend this finding to the domain of social networks, in which social distance is defined by degrees of separation. A total of 334 participants responded to tasks very similar to those in Jones and Rachlin (2008), except that they were required to choose whether they would prefer to receive an amount of money for themselves only or an amount of money for themselves and a person who is n degrees of separation from them up to six degrees. The results show that the hyperbolic function fit the data well, and that several processes appear to contribute to the judgments made in the experimental tasks.


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