Lower social status predicts greater behavioral trust in social exchanges

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Gang Xue
Cite this article:  Xue, G. (2022). Lower social status predicts greater behavioral trust in social exchanges. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 50(7), e11673.


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The motivated attributions model of trust development suggests that trustors ameliorate the anxiety associated with dependence by perceiving others as trustworthy and then engage in seemingly irrational acts of trust, despite these acts being extremely risky. Accordingly, I predicted that individuals with lower social status would demonstrate more trusting behavior than would higher status individuals, and that this tendency would be explained by the lower sense of power of people with a lower social status. I tested the hypotheses using both correlational and experimental designs, with samples representing people from a diverse range of social class backgrounds and controlling for plausible alternative explanations. The results have theoretical and practical implications for understanding how inequality and hierarchy mold actions.

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