Effect of social distance on outcome evaluation in self–other decision-making: evidence from event-related potentials

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Previous studies have shown that social distance influences one’s judgment at the decision-making stage, although its impact in the outcome evaluation stage, which is a vital stage in the decision-making process, is ignored. Using event-related potentials, we examined the influence of social distance on outcome feedback by requiring participants to make decisions for themselves, their friends, or strangers. Increased social distance reduced the feedback-related negativity amplitude in the early stage of outcome evaluation and reduced the P300 amplitude in the late stage of outcome evaluation. These results provide evidence for the power of social distance in decreasing motivation, emotional arousal, and cognitive investment in the outcome evaluation stage.

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