Document Detail

The human amygdala is necessary for developing and expressing normal interpersonal trust.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20920512     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The human amygdala is known to be involved in processing social, emotional, and reward-related information. Previous reports have indicated that the amygdala is involved in extracting trustworthiness information from faces. Interestingly, functional neuroimaging research using economic tasks that presumably require developing and/or expressing interpersonal trust, such as the Trust Game (TG), have not routinely identified involvement of the amygdala. The present study sought to explore the role of the amygdala in developing and expressing interpersonal trust, via a multi-round, multiplayer economic exchange, a version of the TG, in a large sample of participants with focal brain damage. Participants with unilateral damage to the amygdala displayed increased benevolent behavior in the TG, and specifically, they tended to increase trust in response to betrayals. On the other hand, neurologically normal adults tended to repay trust in kind, i.e., they decreased interpersonal trust in response to betrayals or increased trust in response to increases from others. Comparison participants, with brain damage that does not include the amygdala, ventromedial prefrontal or insular cortices, tended to behave ambivalently to the expressed trust or betrayal of others. Our data suggest that the amygdala is necessary for developing and expressing normal interpersonal trust. This increased tendency to behave benevolently in response to defections from others may be related to the abnormal social behavior observed in this group. Moreover, increased benevolence may increase the likelihood or opportunity to be taken advantage of by others.
Timothy R Koscik; Daniel Tranel
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural     Date:  2010-10-27
Journal Detail:
Title:  Neuropsychologia     Volume:  49     ISSN:  1873-3514     ISO Abbreviation:  Neuropsychologia     Publication Date:  2011 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-03-18     Completed Date:  2011-07-26     Revised Date:  2014-09-13    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0020713     Medline TA:  Neuropsychologia     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  602-11     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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MeSH Terms
Amygdala / pathology,  physiology*,  physiopathology
Brain Damage, Chronic / pathology,  psychology*
Case-Control Studies
Functional Laterality
Games, Experimental
Imitative Behavior
Interpersonal Relations*
Reference Values
Social Perception
Grant Support
P50 NS019632-28/NS/NINDS NIH HHS; P50 NS19632/NS/NINDS NIH HHS; R01 DA 022549/DA/NIDA NIH HHS; R01 DA022549/DA/NIDA NIH HHS; R01 DA022549-01/DA/NIDA NIH HHS

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