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Nonverbal content and trust: An experiment on digital communication

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  • Zakaria Babutsidze

    (SKEMA Business School, GREDEG - Groupe de Recherche en Droit, Economie et Gestion - UNS - Université Nice Sophia Antipolis (1965 - 2019) - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UniCA - Université Côte d'Azur, OFCE - Observatoire français des conjonctures économiques (Sciences Po) - Sciences Po - Sciences Po)

  • Nobuyuki Hanaki
  • Adam Zylbersztejn

Abstract

We experimentally study the effect of the mode of digital communication on the emergence of trust in a principal‐agent relationship. We consider three modes of communication that differ in the capacity to transmit nonverbal content: plain text, audio, and video. Communication is pre‐play, one‐way, and unrestricted, but its verbal content is homogenized across treatments. Overall, both audio and video messages have a positive (and similar) effect on trust as compared to plain text; however, the magnitude of these effects depends on the verbal content of agent's message (promise to act trustworthily vs. no such promise). In all conditions, we observe a positive effect of the agent's promise on the principal's trust. We also report that trust in female principals is sensitive to the availability of nonverbal cues about their partners.
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Suggested Citation

  • Zakaria Babutsidze & Nobuyuki Hanaki & Adam Zylbersztejn, 2021. "Nonverbal content and trust: An experiment on digital communication," Post-Print hal-03341971, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-03341971
    DOI: 10.1111/ecin.12998
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    Cited by:

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    4. Adam Zylbersztejn & Zakaria Babutsidze & Nobuyuki Hanaki & Astrid Hopfensitz, 2023. "How beautiful people see the world: Cooperativeness judgments of and by beautiful people," Working Papers 2309, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
    5. Palmisano, Flaviana & Sacchi, Agnese, 2024. "Trust in public institutions, inequality, and digital interaction: Empirical evidence from European Union countries," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 79(C).
    6. Adam Zylbersztejn & Zakaria Babutsidze & Nobuyuki Hanaki & Marie-Sophie Roul, 2024. "Anonymity, nonverbal communication and prosociality in digitized interactions: An experiment on charitable giving," Working Papers 2402, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
    7. Nobuyuki Hanaki & Ali I. Ozkes, 2023. "Strategic environment effect and communication," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 26(3), pages 588-621, July.

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