Society for the Study of Motivation
What Motivates Trust Among Strangers
Thursday, May 22, 2014,
8:30 AM - 9:30 AM
Philosophical, economic, and psychological accounts of interpersonal trust all agree that it makes little sense to trust total strangers, yet anonymous participants in laboratory games involving money trust each other at remarkable and seemingly irrational rates. What motivates such trust? I argue that these laboratory games, which have the look and feel of economic transactions, turn out to be anything but. Trust is sensitive to emotional and social motivations that lay well outside economic self-interest, motives that harken back to some of the oldest observations made in social psychology and related fields.