Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 165–176 | Cite as

Functional connectivity of specific resting-state networks predicts trust and reciprocity in the trust game

  • Gabriele Bellucci
  • Tim Hahn
  • Gopikrishna Deshpande
  • Frank KruegerEmail author


Economic games are used to elicit a social, conflictual situation in which people have to make decisions weighing self-related and collective interests. Combining these games with task-based fMRI has been shown to be successful in investigating the neural underpinnings of cooperative behaviors. However, it remains elusive to which extent resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) represents an individual’s propensity to prosocial behaviors in the context of economic games. Here, we investigated whether task-free RSFC predicts individual differences in the propensity to trust and reciprocate in a one-round trust game (TG) employing a prediction-analytics framework. Our results demonstrated that individual differences in the propensity to trust and reciprocity could be predicted by individual differences in the RSFC. Different subnetworks of the default-mode network associated with mentalizing exclusively predicted trust and reciprocity. Moreover, reciprocity was further predicted by the frontoparietal and cingulo-opercular networks associated with cognitive control and saliency, respectively. Our results contribute to a better understanding of how complex social behaviors are enrooted in large-scale intrinsic brain dynamics, which may represent neuromarkers for impairment of prosocial behavior in mental health disorders.


Trust Reciprocity Trust game Multivariate regression analysis Machine learning Resting-state functional connectivity 



This work was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (P-57191936 to F. K.).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.

Supplementary material

13415_2018_654_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (478 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 478 kb)


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© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology IUniversity of LübeckLübeckGermany
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of MünsterMünsterGermany
  3. 3.AU MRI Research Center, Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA
  5. 5.Center for Health Ecology and Equity ResearchAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA
  6. 6.Alabama Advanced Imaging ConsortiumAuburn University and University of Alabama BirminghamAuburnUSA
  7. 7.School of Systems BiologyGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  8. 8.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MannheimMannheimGermany

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