Trust as a Tactic: The Calculative Induction of Reciprocity
37 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2011
Date Written: June 25, 2011
The current research uses the now-classic Trust Game and introduces a new, simultaneous version of the game to investigate whether people display trust as an influence tactic. Purely personal trusting decisions should lead trustors to send equivalent amounts in both versions of the game; calculative trusting decisions should lead to more trusting action when trustors know that trusted parties will see their behavior before choosing how to respond. Three studies observed considerable evidence of calculative trust that was particularly effective in generating reciprocity when trustors took greater risks and trusted more rather than less. These effects surfaced in social and exchange-oriented interactions, independently of a trustor's verbal messages, even when less costly, more direct means for creating trust were available. Analyses also indicated that feelings of obligation to reciprocate mediated these effects. Thus, it appears that trust tactics speak louder than words and, when they speak, people listen.
Keywords: Trust, reciprocity, obligation, strategy
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