Economic Profits Enhance Trust, Perceived Integrity and Memory of Fairness in Interpersonal Judgment

Keisuke Eto, Shigeru Watanabe, Hideaki Kawabata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Does money lead to trust in personality and intention of others? Humans have a strong tendency to judge the intention of others from their sequent behaviors. In general, people trust others who behave fairly, but not always. Here we show that judgments of both intentional aspects and memory of intentional behavior are automatically influenced by unintentional benefits from the behaviors of others. We conducted a reward-manipulated and repeated trust game by using real participants interacting with moving image partners on a computer screen. The participants assessed likability, trustworthiness, and perceived integrity of the partners in pre- and post-game questionnaires. The results of judgments of all three dimensions and the memory of frequency of each partner's fair behavior (sharing) were strongly influenced by profitability in the trust game, even though all partners shared 75% of the profit and participants were told that profitability was randomly assigned to each partner. Furthermore, these effects were moderated by the gender of the participants: males were more sensitive to monetary profits than were females. The results reveal that humans automatically trust, approve the integrity of, and recall well the fair behavior of others who provide affectively positive outcomes such as monetary profits. We call this phenomenon the "affect ripple effect".

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere51484
JournalPloS one
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Dec 12

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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