Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
November 2019, Vol. 31, No. 11, Pages 1726-1741
© 2019 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Multivoxel Pattern Analysis Reveals a Neural Phenotype for Trust Bias in Adolescents
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The extent to which individuals are inclined to judge unfamiliar others as trustworthy can have important implications for social functioning. Using multivariate pattern analysis, a neural phenotype of trust bias was identified in 48 human adolescents (ages 14–18 years, 26 female). Adolescents who exhibited more similar brain response to faces at the extremes of a trustworthy gradient were more likely to rate neutral faces as trustworthy. This relation between neural pattern representation and trust bias was evinced in the amygdala. Amygdala–insula connectivity dissimilarity to faces at the extremes of the trustworthy gradient was associated with greater trust bias to neutral faces, serving as a distinct circuit-level contributor to decision-making over and above of amygdala pattern similarity. These findings aid understanding of neural mechanisms contributing to individual differences in social evaluations of ambiguity.