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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Deciding When to Trust

Have recently been involved with the concept of  'smart contracts' and trustble agreements.    How might this idea be included in the construction of such things?  Things that we can trust in a neuroscience sense?  Is trust just a way to accurately forecast an agent's future behavior?

How do Our Brains Decide When to Trust?      By Paul J. Sak, in the HBR

Trust is the enabler of global business — without it, most market transactions would be impossible. It is also a hallmark of high-performing organizations. Employees in high-trust companies are more productive, are more satisfied with their jobs, put in greater discretionary effort, are less likely to search for new jobs, and even are healthier than those working in low-trust companies. Businesses that build trust among their customers are rewarded with greater loyalty and higher sales. And negotiators who build trust with each other are more likely to find value-creating deals.

Despite the primacy of trust in commerce, its neurobiological underpinnings were not well understood until recently. Over the past 20 years, research has revealed why we trust strangers, which leadership behaviors lead to the breakdown of trust, and how insights from neuroscience can help colleagues build trust with each other — and help boost a company’s bottom line.


Human brains have two neurological idiosyncrasies that allow us to trust and collaborate with people outside our immediate social group (something no other animal is capable of doing). The first involves our hypertrophied cortex, the brain’s outer surface, where insight, planning, and abstract thought largely occur. Parts of the cortex let us do an amazing trick: transport ourselves into someone else’s mind. Called theory of mind by psychologists, it’s essentially our ability to think, “If I were her, I would do this.” It lets us forecast others’ actions so that we can coordinate our behavior with theirs.  ..... "   (Details at the ink)

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