- Pupil mimicry correlates with trust in in-group partners with dilating pupils
- Psychological Science
- Volume | Issue number
- 26 | 9
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
During close interactions with fellow group members, humans look into one another’s eyes, follow gaze, and quickly grasp emotion signals. The eye-catching morphology of human eyes, with unique eye whites, draws attention to the middle part, to the pupils, and their autonomic changes, which signal arousal, cognitive load, and interest (including social interest). Here, we examined whether and how these changes in a partner’s pupils are processed and how they affect the partner’s trustworthiness. Participants played incentivized trust games with virtual partners, whose pupils dilated, remained static, or constricted. Results showed that (a) participants trusted partners with dilating pupils and withheld trust from partners with constricting pupils, (b) participants’ pupils mimicked changes in their partners’ pupils, and (c) dilation mimicry predicted trust in in-group partners, whereas constriction mimicry did not. We suggest that pupil-contingent trust is in-group bounded and possibly evolved in and because of group life.
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