The neural circuitry of affect-induced distortions of trust

Sci Adv. 2019 Mar 13;5(3):eaau3413. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aau3413. eCollection 2019 Mar.


Aversive affect is likely a key source of irrational human decision-making, but still, little is known about the neural circuitry underlying emotion-cognition interactions during social behavior. We induced incidental aversive affect via prolonged periods of threat of shock, while 41 healthy participants made investment decisions concerning another person or a lottery. Negative affect reduced trust, suppressed trust-specific activity in the left temporoparietal junction (TPJ), and reduced functional connectivity between the TPJ and emotion-related regions such as the amygdala. The posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) seems to play a key role in mediating the impact of affect on behavior: Functional connectivity of this brain area with left TPJ was associated with trust in the absence of negative affect, but aversive affect disrupted this association between TPJ-pSTS connectivity and behavioral trust. Our findings may be useful for a better understanding of the neural circuitry of affective distortions in healthy and pathological populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Amygdala / anatomy & histology
  • Amygdala / physiology
  • Connectome
  • Decision Making*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Investments
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Nerve Net / anatomy & histology
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Parietal Lobe / anatomy & histology
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology
  • Shock / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Temporal Lobe / anatomy & histology
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology
  • Trust / psychology*

Associated data

  • figshare/10.6084/m9.figshare.6148295