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

Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci. 2019 Feb;19(1):165-176. doi: 10.3758/s13415-018-00654-3.


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.

Keywords: Machine learning; Multivariate regression analysis; Reciprocity; Resting-state functional connectivity; Trust; Trust game.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Decision Making / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Individuality
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Trust / psychology*