Trust can make two hearts beat as one, a study has found.
Researchers from Denmark's Aarhus University have showed that in the “trust group” there was a larger physiological response in the form of an increase in synchrony of the participants’ heart rates, compared to the control group.
“The heart rate synchrony is an indicator of rapport, affiliation and the improvement of group dynamics,” said lead researcher and assistant professor Panagiotis Mitkidis. To reach this conclusion, Mitkidis and colleagues studied the link between heart rate and trust. They had 37 pairs of participants do a cooperative task involving building Lego cars. The control group only did the Lego task while a second group played an investment game in between the building sessions.
The game, known as the “Public Goods Game” had the goal of including the element of trust in the experiment. “Trust is a necessary ingredient for successful cooperation and of most importance for our society,” Mitkidis said.
“A further indication of that is that heart rate synchrony is a significant predictor of expectations in the Public Goods Game, an indication of preferences and beliefs about the behaviour of others,” the authors pointed out. The experiment revealed that heart rate synchronisation was significantly higher in the “trust” group.
Heart rate arousal was also significantly higher in the trust condition. The paper appeared in the Journal of Physiology and Behavior.