Decoding social decisions from movement kinematics

iScience. 2022 Nov 10;25(12):105550. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2022.105550. eCollection 2022 Dec 22.


Decisions, including social decisions, are ultimately expressed through actions. However, very little is known about the kinematics of social decisions, and whether movements might reveal important aspects of social decision-making. We addressed this question by developing a motor version of a widely used behavioral economic game - the Ultimatum Game - and using a multivariate kinematic decoding approach to map parameters of social decisions to the single-trial kinematics of individual responders. Using this approach, we demonstrated that movement contains predictive information about both the fairness of a proposed offer and the choice to either accept or reject that offer. This information is expressed in personalized kinematic patterns that are consistent within a given responder, but that varies from one responder to another. These results provide insights into the relationship between decision-making and sensorimotor control, as they suggest that hand kinematics can reveal hidden parameters of complex, social interactive, choice.

Keywords: Social interaction; research methodology social sciences; social sciences.