Hierarchical Neural Prediction of Interpersonal Trust

Yiwen Wang1,2• Xue Yang1,2• Zhenpeng Tang1• Shaobei Xiao3• Johannes Hewig4

1 School of Economics and Management, Fuzhou University, Fuzhou 350108, China

2 Institute of Psychological and Cognitive Sciences, Fuzhou University, Fuzhou 350108, China

3 School of Psychology, Hainan Normal University, Haikou 571158, China

4 Department of Psychology, Julius Maximilians University Wu¨rzburg, 97070 Wu¨rzburg, Germany


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.


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


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