Persuasion, Influence, and Value: Perspectives from Communication and Social Neuroscience

Annu Rev Psychol. 2018 Jan 4:69:329-356. doi: 10.1146/annurev-psych-122216-011821. Epub 2017 Sep 27.


Opportunities to persuade and be persuaded are ubiquitous. What determines whether influence spreads and takes hold? This review provides an overview of evidence for the central role of subjective valuation in persuasion and social influence for both propagators and receivers of influence. We first review evidence that decisions to communicate information are determined by the subjective value a communicator expects to gain from sharing. We next review evidence that the effects of social influence and persuasion on receivers, in turn, arise from changes in the receiver's subjective valuation of objects, ideas, and behaviors. We then review evidence that self-related and social considerations are two key inputs to the value calculation in both communicators and receivers. Finally, we highlight biological coupling between communicators and receivers as a mechanism through which perceptions of value can be transmitted.

Keywords: communication; fMRI; neuroscience; persuasion; social influence; value.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Communication*
  • Humans
  • Persuasive Communication*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Social Values*