Framing a trust game as a power game greatly affects interbrain synchronicity between trustor and trustee

Haoye Sun, Willem J.M.I. Verbeke*, Rumen Pozharliev, Richard P. Bagozzi, Fabio Babiloni, Lei Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


We used dual electroencephalography (EEG) to measure brain activity simultaneously in pairs of trustors and trustees playing a 15-round trust game framed as a “trust game” versus a “power game”. Four major findings resulted: first, earnings in each round were higher in the trust than in the power game. Second, in the trust game, reaction time for strategic deliberations was significantly longer for the trustee than the trustor. In the power game, however, the trustee took longer to think about how much money to repay, whereas the trustor took longer to think about how much money to invest. Third, prediction accuracy for the amount exchanged was higher in the trust game than in the power game. Fourth, interbrain synchronicity gauged with the phase-locking value of alpha bands in the brain–especially the frontal and central regions–was higher in the power game than in the trust game. We infer that this last finding reflects elevated mutual strategic deliberation in the power game. These behavioral and neuroscience-based findings give a better understanding of the framing effects of a trust game on the strategic deliberations of both trustor and trustee seeking to attain wealth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-648
Number of pages14
JournalSocial Neuroscience
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful to the following people and institutions who helped us with this research project. Bauke Visser, Dennis Fok (Erasmus School of Economics); Julia Heisig, Camilla Lupano (student assistants at Erasmus School of Economics); Christiaan Tieman and Marcel Boom (Technical support from Erasmus Behavioural Lab); Jaehwan Jahng (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology); Karlijn Besse (design of pictures); Haoye Sun received financial support from the program of China Scholarships Council (No. 201706320177); Finally we are thankful to the anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments about this manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


Dive into the research topics of 'Framing a trust game as a power game greatly affects interbrain synchronicity between trustor and trustee'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this