The Evolution of Trust and Trustworthiness

Published in Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 2020

Trust and trustworthiness form the basis for continued social and economic interactions, and they are also fundamental for cooperation, fairness, honesty, and indeed for many other forms of prosocial and moral behavior. However, trust entails risks, and building a trustworthy reputation requires effort. So how did trust and trustworthiness evolve, and under which conditions do they thrive? To find answers, we operationalize the concepts of trust and trustworthiness using the trust game with the trustor’s investment and the trustee’s return of the investment as the two key parameters. We report our findings in this paper and outline future directions which could help us improve our understanding of the origin and nature of trust.

This work was conducted in collaboration with Prof. Valerio Capraro, an economist from the UK, and Prof. Matjaz Perc, a physicist with interdisciplinary interests from Slovenia. The official link to the paper can be found here.