Hierarchical Neural Prediction of Interpersonal Trust


Exploring neural markers that predict trust behavior may help us to identify the cognitive process underlying trust decisions and to develop a new approach to promote interpersonal trust. It remains unknown how trust behavior may be predicted early in the decision process. We used electrophysiology to sample the brain activity while participants played the role of trustor in an iterative trust game. The results showed that during the trust generation stage, the trust condition led to higher frontocentral beta band activity related to cognitive inhibition compared to the distrust condition (item level). Moreover, individuals with higher frontocentral beta band activity were more likely to perform trust choices at the single-trial level (individual level). Furthermore, after receiving reciprocity feedback on trialn-1, compared to the betrayal feedback and the distrust choice, the frontocentral beta band oscillation had a stronger predictive effect regarding trust choices on trialn. These findings indicate that beta band oscillations during the decision generation stage contribute to subsequent trust choices.

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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (71942002 and 31771238) and the National Social Science Foundation of China (19ZDA361).

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Correspondence to Yiwen Wang or Zhenpeng Tang or Shaobei Xiao or Johannes Hewig.

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The authors declared no conflicts of interest with respect to the authorship or the publication of this article.

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Wang, Y., Yang, X., Tang, Z. et al. Hierarchical Neural Prediction of Interpersonal Trust. Neurosci. Bull. (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12264-021-00628-5

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  • Interpersonal trust
  • hierarchical prediction
  • trust game
  • beta band oscillation