New paper on trust


Basolateral and central amygdala orchestrate how we learn whom to trust

Cooperation and mutual trust are essential in our society, yet not everybody is trustworthy. In this fMRI study, 62 healthy volunteers performed a repeated trust game, placing trust in a trustworthy or an untrustworthy player. We found that the central amygdala was active during trust behavior planning while the basolateral amygdala was active during outcome evaluation. When planning the trust behavior, central and basolateral amygdala activation was stronger for the untrustworthy player compared to the trustworthy player but only in participants who actually learned to differentiate the trustworthiness of the players. Independent of learning success, nucleus accumbens encoded whether trust was reciprocated. This suggests that learning whom to trust is not related to reward processing in the nucleus accumbens, but rather to engagement of the amygdala. Our study overcomes major empirical gaps between animal models and human neuroimaging and shows how different subnuclei of the amygdala and connected areas orchestrate learning to form different subjective trustworthiness beliefs about others and guide trust choice behavior.

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