A recent study from the University of Georgia shows differences in brain structure according to how trusting people are of others.
The research may have implications for future treatments of psychological conditions such as autism, said the study's lead author Brian Haas, an assistant professor in the department of psychology. Each autism diagnosis is on a spectrum and varies, but some diagnosed with the condition exhibit problems trusting other people.
"There are conditions, like autism, that are characterized by deficits in being able to process the world socially, one of which is the ability to trust people," Haas said.
"Here we have converging evidence that these brain regions are important for trust; and if we can understand how these differences relate to specific social processes, then we may be able to develop more targeted treatment techniques for people who have deficits in social cognition."
Haas and his team of researchers used two measures to determine the trust levels of 82 study participants.
Participants filled out a self-reported questionnaire about their tendency to trust others. They also were shown pictures of faces with neutral facial expressions and asked to evaluate how trustworthy they found each person in the picture. This gave researchers a metric, on a spectrum, of how trusting each participant was of others.
Researchers then took MRI scans of the participants' brains to determine how brain structure is associated with the tendency to be more trusting of others. What researchers found, said Haas, were differences in two areas of the brain.
"The most important finding was that the grey matter volume was greater in the ventral medial prefrontal cortex, which is the brain region that serves to evaluate social rewards, in people that tended to be more trusting of others," he said.
"Another finding that we observed was for a brain region called the amygdala. The volume of this area of the brain, which codes for emotional saliency, was greater in those that were both most trusting and least trusting of others. If something is emotionally important to us, the amygdala helps us code and remember it."
Future studies may focus on how, and if, trust can be improved and whether the brain is malleable according to the type of communication someone has with another, he said.
The study was published in the journal NeuroImage. Haas' research team included undergraduate students Alexandra Ishak and Ian Anderson and graduate student Megan Filkowski.
The study on "The tendency to trust is reflected in human brain structure" is available online at http://www.
Brian Haas | EurekAlert!
Some brain tumors may respond to immunotherapy, new study suggests
11.12.2018 | Columbia University Irving Medical Center
Climate change and air pollution damaging health and causing millions of premature deaths
30.11.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...
What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.
Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
13.12.2018 | Life Sciences
13.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
13.12.2018 | Earth Sciences