Lots of interesting new trust research lately.  A little sampling:

  • Unconscious racial biases shape our willingness to trust:
    “We … show greater trust in members of those groups toward whom we implicitly feel more favorable, and we do so independently of our explicit consciously accessible beliefs. In other words, our behavior is not driven solely by what we would consciously desire or intend.”  (Stanley et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)
  • We cope with stress by increasing our trust:
    “The up-regulation of trust is a relationship-focused coping strategy that facilitates the maintenance of social relationships during stressful experiences.” (Koranyi & Rothermund, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology)
  • When we don’t trust government, we’re more willing to tolerate law-breakers.
    “…low levels of political trust are associated with less support for law compliance within a society. Low trust in political institutions results in less public willingness to defer to decisions taken by those institutions. In the absence of voluntary compliance, governments have to resort to coercive measures to enforce regulations with the result that governing is rendered more difficult and more costly. Therefore, low levels of political trust can undermine the effective governing of a society and carry with them a potential threat for the functioning of democratic processes.” (Marien & Hooghe, European Journal of Political Research)
  • Who’s responsible for our declining generalized trust?  Mom and Dad.
    “We find that over the last decades children increasingly score lower on generalized trust than their parents. Moreover, most parents, independent of their own trust levels, attempt to instill in their children distrust in unknown people.” (Stolle & Nishikawa, Comparative Sociology)