The social exchange of resources is a ubiquitous aspect of human social life. Mechanisms of reciprocity rely on an average net return on investments, and cues may be used to distinguish valuable exchanges. Health cues are expected to influence exchange decisions: healthy partners are more likely to live to engage in future interactions, and association with healthy partners can bring indirect benefits. However, healthy partners may also demand greater investment in order to reciprocate trust. In a one-shot, anonymous exchange with real monetary payoffs, we examined trust and reciprocation as a function of the apparent health of partners' faces. We find that players do not trust healthy partners more than unhealthy ones, but they do reciprocate the trust of healthy partners moreľan effect that is eliminated when health preferences are controlled for. We discuss the implications of our results for current models of reciprocity and social exchange.
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