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When playing games of strategic interaction, such as iterated Prisoner's Dilemma and iterated Chicken Game, people exhibit specific within-game learning (e.g., learning a game's optimal outcome) as well as transfer of learning between games (e.g., a game's optimal outcome occurring at a higher proportion when played after another game). The reciprocal trust players develop during the first game is thought to mediate transfer of learning effects. Recently, a computational cognitive model using a novel trust mechanism has been shown to account for human behavior in both games, including the transfer between games. We present the results of a study in which we evaluate the model's a priori predictions of human learning and transfer in 16 different conditions. The model's predictive validity is compared against five model variants that lacked a trust mechanism. The results suggest that a trust mechanism is necessary to explain human behavior across multiple conditions, even when a human plays against a non-human agent. The addition of a trust mechanism to the other learning mechanisms within the cognitive architecture, such as sequence learning, instance-based learning, and utility learning, leads to better prediction of the empirical data. It is argued that computational cognitive modeling is a useful tool for studying trust development, calibration, and repair.


© 2016 Collins, Juvina and Gluck. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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