Big Five personality factors in the Trust Game

  • Julia MüllerEmail author
  • Christiane Schwieren
Original Paper


Growing interest in using personality variables in business and economic research has led to the question of whether personality, as measured by psychology, is useful to predict behavior. While personality can undoubtedly influence large-scale outcomes, it is less clear if personality variables can also be used to understand micro-behavior in games. We experimentally test the impact of personality factors (measured using the Big Five model) on behavior in the Trust Game. Overall, we find that personality can contribute to explaining the behavior of the first player, the trustor, whereas, the behavior of the second player, the trustee, cannot be explained by their personality. In fact, the trustee’s behavior is instead affected by the first player’s behavior, i.e., the second player’s response depends on whether or not the first player has trusted the second player.


Personality Big Five Five-factor model Incentives Experiment Trust Game 

JEL Classification

C72 C91 D03 



We would like to thank Ulrike Basten, Christian Fiebach, and Christine Stelzel for helpful comments and suggestions. Financial support from the START-Professorship of the University of Heidelberg of the DFG Initiative of Excellence is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Organisational EconomicsUniversity of MünsterMünsterGermany
  2. 2.Alfred-Weber-Institute for EconomicsUniversity of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany

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