Making trust easier and harder through two forms of sequential interaction

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If people in a trust dilemma take turns choosing first and second (alternating interaction), there is no longer a dilemma for the people choosing second. Their motives are revealed by their choices. In most real-world situations, however, although choices are sequential, each choice is both a response to another person's past move and a stimulus for the other person's next move (continuing interaction). It was hypothesized that cooperation would be harder to achieve in continuing than in alternating interaction, since in continuing interaction, like simultaneous interaction, people's motives are ambiguous. Since males have been shown to be more concerned with communication in trust dilemmas, it was also hypothesized that alternating interaction would benefit males more than females. Data from 2 studies with a total of 42 male and 42 female undergraduate dyads supported this reasoning. It is concluded that one of the most artificial constraints of the formal trust dilemma–simultaneous choice–can be relaxed while still retaining its important psychological properties. (19 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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