What's in a name? Subliminally activating trusting behavior

Li Huang, J. Keith Murnighan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

Because the choice to trust is inherently risky, people naturally assess others' trustworthiness before they engage in trusting actions. The research reported here suggests that the trust development process may start before the conscious assessment of trustworthiness, via the activation of a relational schema. We present three experiments that examined the automatic, non-conscious activation of interpersonal trusting behavior via a variety of subliminal cues: positive or negative, relational or non-relational, and trust-related or not. In all three studies, subliminal relational cues influenced subsequent trusting behavior, apparently without conscious awareness. Results from the third study also indicated that subliminal relational cues that were specifically trust-related influenced trustors' expectations of the likelihood of reciprocity. Overall, the data provide initial evidence that the development of interpersonal trust can start before and beneath conscious awareness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-70
Number of pages9
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Volume111
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

Keywords

  • Automaticity
  • Nonconsciousness
  • Relational cues
  • Relational schema
  • Subliminal priming
  • Trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'What's in a name? Subliminally activating trusting behavior'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this