Toward a Model of Interpersonal Trust Drawn from Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics

Trends Neurosci. 2019 Feb;42(2):92-101. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2018.10.004. Epub 2018 Oct 25.


Trust pervades nearly every social aspect of our daily lives, and its disruption is a significant factor in mental illness. Research in the field of neuroeconomics has gained a deeper understanding of the neuropsychoeconomic (NPE) underpinnings of trust by combining complementary methodologies from neuroscience, psychology, and economics. However, a coherent model of trust that integrates separate findings under a conceptual framework is still lacking. Here, we sketch out an integrative NPE model that explains how the interactions of psychoeconomic components engage domain-general large-scale brain networks in shaping trust behavior over time. We also point out caveats of current research approaches and outline open questions that can help guide future transdisciplinary investigations for a better understanding of the neuropsychology of trust.

Keywords: bounded rationality; neuropsychoeconomics; social dilemma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology*
  • Games, Experimental
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Research
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Reward
  • Trust*