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What's in a name? Subliminally activating trusting behavior

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  • Huang, Li
  • Murnighan, J. Keith
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    Abstract

    Because the choice to trust is inherently risky, people naturally assess others' trustworthiness before they engage in trusting actions. The research reported here suggests that the trust development process may start before the conscious assessment of trustworthiness, via the activation of a relational schema. We present three experiments that examined the automatic, non-conscious activation of interpersonal trusting behavior via a variety of subliminal cues: positive or negative, relational or non-relational, and trust-related or not. In all three studies, subliminal relational cues influenced subsequent trusting behavior, apparently without conscious awareness. Results from the third study also indicated that subliminal relational cues that were specifically trust-related influenced trustors' expectations of the likelihood of reciprocity. Overall, the data provide initial evidence that the development of interpersonal trust can start before and beneath conscious awareness.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

    Volume (Year): 111 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 62-70

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:111:y:2010:i:1:p:62-70

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/obhdp

    Related research

    Keywords: Trust Relational schema Relational cues Subliminal priming Automaticity Nonconsciousness;

    References

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    1. Douglass C. North, 1990. "A Transaction Cost Theory of Politics," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 2(4), pages 355-367, October.
    2. Zak, Paul J & Knack, Stephen, 2001. "Trust and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(470), pages 295-321, April.
    3. Bohnet, Iris & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2003. "Trust, Risk and Betrayal," Working Paper Series rwp03-041, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    4. Malhotra, Deepak, 2004. "Trust and reciprocity decisions: The differing perspectives of trustors and trusted parties," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 61-73, July.
    5. Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    6. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
    7. Knack, Stephen & Keefer, Philip, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-88, November.
    8. Andreas Ortmann & John Fitzgerald & Carl Boeing, 2000. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History: A Re-examination," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 81-100, June.
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    Cited by:
    1. Evans, Anthony M. & Athenstaedt, Ursula & Krueger, Joachim I., 2013. "The development of trust and altruism during childhood," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 82-95.

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