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Description: Are our decisions in situations with positive or negative financial outcomes governed solely by the pluses and minuses of gain and loss or are there other factors such as the nature of our relationship with the people with whom we are buying selling or trading that are important influences on our decision-making strategies?

Source: Science Daily: Trust me: Research sheds light on why people trust

Date: August 11, 2015

Trust me

Photo Credit: michaeljung / Fotolia.

Links: Article Link

Social Psychologists have conducted a lot of research into how people behave in gaming situations that involves opportunities for gain and loss of money or other resources. Recently published research from Dartmouth College to just another important factor beyond gains and losses in how people perform and how they think about gaming situations they will be their relationships with the other people who are in the “game” with them. In this particular study participants played a financial investment game and were led to believe that they were playing this game either with a close friend, a stranger, or simply with a slot machine. In fact they’re playing against a computer program that basically reciprocated trust choices 50% of the time. The researchers also use neuroimaging to look at the areas of the brain that were most active in each of these conditions. What they found was a participants reported that positive interactions or wins but occurred when they were playing with a close friend were perceived as more rewarding in such situations when they occurred while interacting with a stranger or with the machine. The researchers suggested that their results reflect the importance of social relationships and how we make our day-to-day decisions.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Why might it be that we would find positive events more enjoyable when they involve people with whom we have trusting relationships?
  2. What might be the adaptive value in humans tracking the level of trust they feel with those with whom they are interacting on an ongoing basis?
  3. To what extent do you think the situations created by the researchers in this study do or do not accurately reflect our real-world experience in situations where making investment like decisions?

References (Watch Further):

Dartmouth College. “Trust me: Research sheds light on why people trust.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 August 2015. <>.