New research from the University of Amsterdam and the University of Zurich suggests that negative emotions decrease our trust in other people, even if caused by a completely unrelated issue. Negative incidental emotions suppress the functioning of the temporoparietal junction (TPJ), a part of the brain that helps us interpret others’ intentions. Feeling threatened or stressed also removes the impact of the level of connection between the TPJ and other brain structures involved in social cognition. Under normal circumstances, when these connections are stronger it makes people more likely to be trusting.
- It is known that a bad mood can affect how we treat others but a new study has shown that it can also affect our trust of others.
- Incidental emotions are emotions that have nothing to do with the circumstances under consideration. This is like when a traffic congestion makes you to be angry with your spouse.
- The research was conducted by neuroeconomists in Zurich and they looked at whether incidental aversive effect can influence trust behavior and the brain networks at play.
“The activity of the temporoparietal junction becomes significantly suppressed during trust decisions when people feel threatened, a new study reports.”