Digital Trust Games: An Experimental Study

  • Tansu Alpcan
  • Albert Levi
  • Erkay Savaş
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7037)


An experimental study of the digital trust game in [2] is presented. The study consists of an initial survey followed by a four-part dynamic experiment investigating various aspects of digital trust decisions. Digital trust in online environments differs from its offline variants due to its unique characteristics such as near instantaneous communication, transient and impersonal nature of interactions, immediate access to opinions of others, and availability of high amount of (but often low quality) information. It is observed that while the game theory provides a suitable analytical framework for quantitative analysis of digital trust decisions, the model in [2] has its shortcomings. Firstly, the subjects do not seem to adopt an iterative best or gradient response strategy. They exhibit significant (mental) inertia and only respond to new information or significant situation changes. Secondly, they take into account signals from their social circle much more than aggregate signals such as average scores. Both of these results and additional insights gained have important implications for future game theoretic modeling efforts of digital trust.


Digital trust decision making game theory social influences survey dynamic experiment 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Alpcan, T., Başar, T.: Network Security: A Decision and Game Theoretic Approach. Cambridge University Press (2011)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Alpcan, T., Örencik, C., Levi, A., Savaş, E.: A game theoretic model for digital identity and trust in online communities. In: Proc. of the 5th ACM Symp. on Information, Computer and Communications Security, ASIACCS 2010, pp. 341–344. ACM, New York (2010), Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Anderhub, V., Engelmann, D., Güth, W.: An experimental study of the repeated trust game with incomplete information. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 48(2), 197–216 (2002), CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Camerer, C.F.: Behavioral game theory: Experiments in strategic interaction. Princeton University Press (2003),
  5. 5.
    Dellarocas, C.: The digitization of word-of-mouth: Promise and challenges of online feedback mechanisms. Tech. rep., MIT Dspace, United States (2003),,
  6. 6.
    Despotovic, Z., Aberer, K.: P2p reputation management: Probabilistic estimation vs. social networks. Computer Networks 50(4), 485–500 (2006), management in Peer-to-Peer Systems, CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Engle-Warnick, J., Slonim, R.L.: The evolution of strategies in a repeated trust game. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 55(4), 553–573 (2004), trust and Trustworthiness, CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Engle-Warnick, J., Slonim, R.L.: Inferring repeated-game strategies from actions: evidence from trust game experiments. Economic Theory 28, 603–632 (2006),, doi: 10.1007/s00199-005-0633-6CrossRefzbMATHMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Hubbard, W.D.: How to measure anything finding the value of ’intangibles’ in business. John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken (2007)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Josang, A., Ismail, R., Boyd, C.: A survey of trust and reputation systems for online service provision. Decision Support Syst. 43(2), 618–644 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    King-Casas, B., Tomlin, D., Anen, C., Camerer, C.F., Quartz, S.R., Montague, P.R.: Getting to know you: Reputation and trust in a two-person economic exchange. Science 308(5718), 78–83 (2005), CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Lorenz, J., Rauhut, H., Schweitzer, F., Helbing, D.: How social influence can undermine the wisdom of crowd effect. Proc. of the National Academy of Sciences (2011),
  13. 13.
    Marden, J., Arslan, G., Shamma, J.: Joint strategy fictitious play with inertia for potential games. In: 44th IEEE Conf. on Decision and Control and 2005 European Control Conf. CDC-ECC 2005, pp. 6692–6697 (December 2005)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Mcluhan, M., Fiore, Q.: The Medium is the Massage. Gingko Press,
  15. 15.
    Resnick, P., Zeckhauser, R.: Trust among strangers in Internet transactions: Empirical analysis of eBay’s reputation system. In: Baye, M.R. (ed.) The Economics of the Internet and E-Commerce, Advances in Applied Microeconomics, vol. 11, pp. 127–157. Elsevier Science (2002),
  16. 16.
    Resnick, P., Zeckhauser, R., Swanson, J., Lockwood, K.: The value of reputation on ebay: A controlled experiment. Experimental Economics 9, 79–101 (2006),, doi: 10.1007/s10683-006-4309-2CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Yan, Z., Holtmanns, S.: Trust modeling and management: from social trust to digital trust. In: Subramanian, R. (ed.) Computer Security, Privacy, and Politics: Current Issues, Challenges, and Solutions. IRM Press, IGI Global (2008)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tansu Alpcan
    • 1
  • Albert Levi
    • 2
  • Erkay Savaş
    • 2
  1. 1.Dept. of Electrical and Electronic EngineeringThe University of MelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Sabanci UniversityIstanbulTurkey

Personalised recommendations