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Keeping Up with the Jonses November 29, 2007

Posted by tkcollier in cool stuff, Lifestyle, Science & Technology.
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Success Depends on Others Failing – TIME
The study, by cognition experts and economists at the University of Bonn in Germany, looks at the brain regions that process reward. Nineteen pairs of subjects performed a series of tasks, estimating the number of dots on a screen, while their brains were scanned. Each time a subject answered correctly, he or she won a cash prize but the prizes were not always the same. Players could see whether their opponents had answered correctly, and how the prize money was distributed.

The researchers were especially interested in the set of outcomes where both players answered correctly. For any given prize value, the brain’s reward response was bigger if the other player earned less. Players on average were more pleased with a 60 euro prize when the other player got just 30 euros, for example, than they were if both players earned 60 euros, or if the other player got more.

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