Project Information

Kurt Lewin Instituut
Heidelberglaan 1
Room Number H1.42
The Netherlands
T: +31 (0)30 - 253 3027

Project Information

Project Title
"The role of monetary rewards in modulating agency experiences and egocentric decision making"

Utrecht University - Social, Health, and Organizational Psychology

PhD Student
Samantha Antusch

Prof.dr. Toon Taris (Utrecht University)
prof.dr. Henk Aarts (Utrecht University)
dr. Ruud Custers (Utrecht University)

1 September 2015 - 30 August 2019

Utrecht University


Monetary rewards are a prominent social tool to stimulate human motivation and performance. However, so far little research has addressed the question how monetary rewards affect social functioning. Building on a recently proposed framework for understanding human performance in the service of reward pursuit, the main aim of the current PhD project is thus to unravel the effects of initial (rudimentary) and full (higher-level) processing of monetary rewards on self-relevant processing and social decision making. A primary hypothesis is that monetary rewards increase the sense of self-agency, i.e., the immediate feeling of controlling outcomes by one’s own actions. Following from that, it is assumed that increased agency due to monetary rewards causes individuals to be more self-oriented and be less considerate of others, resulting in egocentric decision making. Finally, variables that may moderate these effects (e.g., acute stress or relationship with others) will be taken into account. Findings are expected to have important theoretical implications for social cognition research as well as for applied settings such as organizational and work psychological practices.

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