Getting to Know You: Reputation and Trust in a Two-Person Economic Exchange

Human Neuroimaging Laboratory, Department of Neuroscience, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Houston, TX 77030, USA.
Science (Impact Factor: 33.61). 05/2005; 308(5718):78-83. DOI: 10.1126/science.1108062
Source: PubMed


Using a multiround version of an economic exchange (trust game), we report that reciprocity expressed by one player strongly predicts future trust expressed by their partner-a behavioral finding mirrored by neural responses in the dorsal striatum. Here, analyses within and between brains revealed two signals-one encoded by response magnitude, and the other by response timing. Response magnitude correlated with the "intention to trust" on the next play of the game, and the peak of these "intention to trust" responses shifted its time of occurrence by 14 seconds as player reputations developed. This temporal transfer resembles a similar shift of reward prediction errors common to reinforcement learning models, but in the context of a social exchange. These data extend previous model-based functional magnetic resonance imaging studies into the social domain and broaden our view of the spectrum of functions implemented by the dorsal striatum.

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Available from: Colin Farrell Camerer
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    • "Synchronization during social interactions has been reported using different neuroimaging techniques. For example, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has been to observe two participants during a simple interaction game (Montague et al., 2002) or neuroeconomics (King-Casas et al., 2005), and electroencephalography (EEG) for social interactions (Astolfi et al., 2011), card game (Babiloni et al., 2006), instrument playing (Lindenberger et al., 2009), and cooperative prisoner's dilemma games (De Vico Fallani et al., 2010). "
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    • "predictions and behavioral strategies change (Axelrod, 2006; Axelrod & Hamilton, 1981). Studies with multiple round games have shown that participants often play what seems like a tit-for-tat strategy (King-Casas et al., 2005; Nowak & Sigmund, 1992; van den Bos, van Dijk, & Crone, 2012; Wedekind & Milinski, 1996). "
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    ABSTRACT: The ability to form and maintain long-term trusting relationships with others arguably has enabled humans to develop high levels of cooperation within social groups. Trust, as operationalized in the economic trust game, varies greatly between individuals and under different contexts, probably reflecting contributions from different component processes. From a mechanistic point of view, progress has been made to delineate neural substrates and neurochemical pathways involved in trusting behavior. However, many questions regarding the exact neural implementation of trust remain unanswered. To make progress on these outstanding questions, it would be helpful to be able to turn to an animal model of trust, in which the full range of neurobiological manipulations and readout could be employed. The fundamental question therefore is: can trust be adequately modeled in laboratory animals, such as rodents? Here we present a breakdown of trusting behavior into its component processes such as social recognition, and reward contingency learning, and discuss which of these components could be translated to an animal experiment. We finally present a pilot experiment that indicates that rodents can learn reward probability contingencies that depend on social cues, and that this probability estimation bias persisted even when the actual outcome distributions between social partners was equated, suggesting a rudimentary capability for trust-like behavior in rodents.
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    • "More importantly, in social interaction, others' reputation status emerges as a key mediator in determining the way that we treat them (Suzuki and Akiyama 2005; Milinski et al. 2002a, b). For example, people would like to help and cooperate more often with those who have a good reputation (King-Casas et al. 2005; Sigmund 2012; Nowak and Sigmund 2005; Nowak 2006; Milinski et al. 2002a, b). "
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