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

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

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Department of Psychology I, University of Lübeck, Lübeck, Germany.
Department of Psychiatry, University of Münster, Münster, Germany.
AU MRI Research Center, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Auburn University, Auburn, AL, USA.
Department of Psychology, Auburn University, Auburn, AL, USA.
Center for Health Ecology and Equity Research, Auburn University, Auburn, AL, USA.
Alabama Advanced Imaging Consortium, Auburn University and University of Alabama Birmingham, Auburn, AL, USA.
School of Systems Biology, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, 22030, USA.
Department of Psychology, University of Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany.


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.


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


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