General trust and judgments of trustworthiness

Kosugi, M.; Yamagishi, T.

The Japanese journal of psychology 69(5): 349-357


DOI: 10.4992/jjpsy.69.349
Accession: 068501720

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Contrary to the common sense idea that trustful people are gullible and easily believe whatever other people may say, past research reviewed by Rotter (1980a) indicated the idea was not necessarily valid. Two experiments of this paper further demonstrated that trustful people are more sensitive to information that indicates lack of trustworthiness in other people. In the experiments, subjects read a series of stories in which a person was about to make a choice between a trustworthy action and an untrustworthy one. Some of them were also given pieces of information regarding trustworthiness of the person. They were then asked to predict the likelihood of the person taking a trustworthy action. When no information was given, high trusters predicted with higher probability than low trusters that the person would take a trustworthy action. On the other hand, the high trusters lowered the predicted likelihood more steeply than the low when negative information was provided.