Working paper

Trust as a Skill: Applying Psychological Models of Skill Acquisition to Explain the Social Trust Formation Process

Year:

2017

Published in:

Munich Personal RePEc Archive
social trust; trust formation; psychology of skill acquisition; PIAAC

This study uses psychological models of skill acquisition to explain how social trust is formed. We view trust as being shaped by four factors: crystallized, cognitive, contact, and context. We combine these four factors into a 4C-component analytical model by establishing links between them and explaining the rationale behind their individual and joint effects on trust. The proposed model is tested with the PIAAC public-use data. Both theoretical and empirical elaborations suggest that context is the strongest driver of trust formation. Good contexts also spur more trust when individuals already possess crystallized knowledge and can display faith in others. Such knowledge can be learned if it is missing, but how efficiently depends on the quality of one’s cognitive system, frequency of contacts with others, and the distance between one’s actual knowledge of trust and the optimal trust level for the given context.

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