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Trust and reciprocity: are effort and money equivalent?

Vilares I, Dam G, Kording K - PLoS ONE (2011)

Bottom Line: Here we studied a trust game based on physical effort and compared the results with those of a computationally equivalent monetary trust game.We found no significant difference between effort and money conditions in both the amount trusted and the quantity reciprocated.Our results validate the use of trust games to study exchanges in physical effort and to characterize inter-subject differences in trust and reciprocity, and also suggest a new behavioral paradigm to study these differences.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America. iris-vilares@northwestern.edu

ABSTRACT
Trust and reciprocity facilitate cooperation and are relevant to virtually all human interactions. They are typically studied using trust games: one subject gives (entrusts) money to another subject, which may return some of the proceeds (reciprocate). Currently, however, it is unclear whether trust and reciprocity in monetary transactions are similar in other settings, such as physical effort. Trust and reciprocity of physical effort are important as many everyday decisions imply an exchange of physical effort, and such exchange is central to labor relations. Here we studied a trust game based on physical effort and compared the results with those of a computationally equivalent monetary trust game. We found no significant difference between effort and money conditions in both the amount trusted and the quantity reciprocated. Moreover, there is a high positive correlation in subjects' behavior across conditions. This suggests that trust and reciprocity may be character traits: subjects that are trustful/trustworthy in monetary settings behave similarly during exchanges of physical effort. Our results validate the use of trust games to study exchanges in physical effort and to characterize inter-subject differences in trust and reciprocity, and also suggest a new behavioral paradigm to study these differences.

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Relationship between a subject's relative trust or relative reciprocity in the monetary and effort conditions.Each trustor is represented by a black dot (nβ€Š=β€Š30) and each trustee is represented by a grey cross (nβ€Š=β€Š30). When dots or crosses overlap a small number is shown nearby, representing the amount of overlapping dots (in black) or crosses (in grey). The black solid line represents a linear regression of the relative amount trusted in the effort condition as a function of the relative trust in the monetary condition (Ξ²β€Š=β€Š0.71, p-valβ€Š=β€Š1.6Γ—10βˆ’6, r2β€Š=β€Š0.57). The grey dashed line represents a linear regression of the relative amount reciprocated in the effort condition as a function of the relative amount reciprocated in the monetary condition (Ξ²β€Š=β€Š0.84, p-valβ€Š=β€Š6.9Γ—10βˆ’3, r2β€Š=β€Š0.23).
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pone-0017113-g004: Relationship between a subject's relative trust or relative reciprocity in the monetary and effort conditions.Each trustor is represented by a black dot (nβ€Š=β€Š30) and each trustee is represented by a grey cross (nβ€Š=β€Š30). When dots or crosses overlap a small number is shown nearby, representing the amount of overlapping dots (in black) or crosses (in grey). The black solid line represents a linear regression of the relative amount trusted in the effort condition as a function of the relative trust in the monetary condition (Ξ²β€Š=β€Š0.71, p-valβ€Š=β€Š1.6Γ—10βˆ’6, r2β€Š=β€Š0.57). The grey dashed line represents a linear regression of the relative amount reciprocated in the effort condition as a function of the relative amount reciprocated in the monetary condition (Ξ²β€Š=β€Š0.84, p-valβ€Š=β€Š6.9Γ—10βˆ’3, r2β€Š=β€Š0.23).

Mentions: We wanted to test if, at an individual level, a subject's behavior in the monetary condition was correlated to behavior in the physical effort condition. We designed the experiment so that each subject participated in one monetary and one effort condition in random order and thus we can analyze correlations across the conditions. We found a high positive correlation in subjects' trusting behavior between the monetary and effort conditions (rβ€Š=β€Š0.74, p-val<10βˆ’5, spearman correlation; see Fig. 4). We also found a significant but weaker correlation in reciprocating behavior (rβ€Š=β€Š0.39, p-valβ€Š=β€Š0.032 for absolute reciprocity; rβ€Š=β€Š0.48, p-valβ€Š=β€Š0.008 for relative reciprocity; spearman correlations, nβ€Š=β€Š30; see Fig. 4). Thus, subjects' behavior was positively correlated between conditions, with subjects that trusted or reciprocated more in a monetary condition tending to be more trusting/trustworthy in a physical effort condition.


Trust and reciprocity: are effort and money equivalent?

Vilares I, Dam G, Kording K - PLoS ONE (2011)

Relationship between a subject's relative trust or relative reciprocity in the monetary and effort conditions.Each trustor is represented by a black dot (nβ€Š=β€Š30) and each trustee is represented by a grey cross (nβ€Š=β€Š30). When dots or crosses overlap a small number is shown nearby, representing the amount of overlapping dots (in black) or crosses (in grey). The black solid line represents a linear regression of the relative amount trusted in the effort condition as a function of the relative trust in the monetary condition (Ξ²β€Š=β€Š0.71, p-valβ€Š=β€Š1.6Γ—10βˆ’6, r2β€Š=β€Š0.57). The grey dashed line represents a linear regression of the relative amount reciprocated in the effort condition as a function of the relative amount reciprocated in the monetary condition (Ξ²β€Š=β€Š0.84, p-valβ€Š=β€Š6.9Γ—10βˆ’3, r2β€Š=β€Š0.23).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3045406&req=5

pone-0017113-g004: Relationship between a subject's relative trust or relative reciprocity in the monetary and effort conditions.Each trustor is represented by a black dot (nβ€Š=β€Š30) and each trustee is represented by a grey cross (nβ€Š=β€Š30). When dots or crosses overlap a small number is shown nearby, representing the amount of overlapping dots (in black) or crosses (in grey). The black solid line represents a linear regression of the relative amount trusted in the effort condition as a function of the relative trust in the monetary condition (Ξ²β€Š=β€Š0.71, p-valβ€Š=β€Š1.6Γ—10βˆ’6, r2β€Š=β€Š0.57). The grey dashed line represents a linear regression of the relative amount reciprocated in the effort condition as a function of the relative amount reciprocated in the monetary condition (Ξ²β€Š=β€Š0.84, p-valβ€Š=β€Š6.9Γ—10βˆ’3, r2β€Š=β€Š0.23).
Mentions: We wanted to test if, at an individual level, a subject's behavior in the monetary condition was correlated to behavior in the physical effort condition. We designed the experiment so that each subject participated in one monetary and one effort condition in random order and thus we can analyze correlations across the conditions. We found a high positive correlation in subjects' trusting behavior between the monetary and effort conditions (rβ€Š=β€Š0.74, p-val<10βˆ’5, spearman correlation; see Fig. 4). We also found a significant but weaker correlation in reciprocating behavior (rβ€Š=β€Š0.39, p-valβ€Š=β€Š0.032 for absolute reciprocity; rβ€Š=β€Š0.48, p-valβ€Š=β€Š0.008 for relative reciprocity; spearman correlations, nβ€Š=β€Š30; see Fig. 4). Thus, subjects' behavior was positively correlated between conditions, with subjects that trusted or reciprocated more in a monetary condition tending to be more trusting/trustworthy in a physical effort condition.

Bottom Line: Here we studied a trust game based on physical effort and compared the results with those of a computationally equivalent monetary trust game.We found no significant difference between effort and money conditions in both the amount trusted and the quantity reciprocated.Our results validate the use of trust games to study exchanges in physical effort and to characterize inter-subject differences in trust and reciprocity, and also suggest a new behavioral paradigm to study these differences.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America. iris-vilares@northwestern.edu

ABSTRACT
Trust and reciprocity facilitate cooperation and are relevant to virtually all human interactions. They are typically studied using trust games: one subject gives (entrusts) money to another subject, which may return some of the proceeds (reciprocate). Currently, however, it is unclear whether trust and reciprocity in monetary transactions are similar in other settings, such as physical effort. Trust and reciprocity of physical effort are important as many everyday decisions imply an exchange of physical effort, and such exchange is central to labor relations. Here we studied a trust game based on physical effort and compared the results with those of a computationally equivalent monetary trust game. We found no significant difference between effort and money conditions in both the amount trusted and the quantity reciprocated. Moreover, there is a high positive correlation in subjects' behavior across conditions. This suggests that trust and reciprocity may be character traits: subjects that are trustful/trustworthy in monetary settings behave similarly during exchanges of physical effort. Our results validate the use of trust games to study exchanges in physical effort and to characterize inter-subject differences in trust and reciprocity, and also suggest a new behavioral paradigm to study these differences.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus