Networking Reference
In-Depth Information
Decision Maker: The Trustor
Trust is studied in social sciences as a human construct. When people make
decisions, trust allows them to choose one decision over the others by relying on
each other. The trustee can be another person, a team or an organization. However,
only a human being can trust a trustee. Even when discussing organizations trusting
other organizations, social sciences take the view that decisions in organizations are
made by human decision makers. In essence, the trust literature in this area aims
to analyze how and why people trust others, how trust impacts their behavior and
how systems can be devised to achieve certain social outcomes by influencing trust.
Various perspectives shed light on this relationship: their social network, cognitive
heuristics and biases and specific goals. Some researchers, for example concentrate
on how people form opinions of others. There is also research in how different
traits of a person affect their trust relationships or how emotions impact trust. Other
researchers may look at various social advantages offered by trusting relationships.
Some studies concentrate on how people attribute positive and negative features
to different social groups that impact their trust. In some approaches, people are
modeled as agents acting in self-interest and trying to modify their own utility. In
this case, trust is a way of achieving future gains and systems designed to calibrate
people's utilities can impact their trust.
These different approaches sometimes conflict with each other. There is contin-
uing debate on whether human beings are rational [ 9 ]. If rationality is described as
adherence to the assumptions of mathematical utility theory, there are many findings
about how people make decisions that are at odds with this notion of rationality.
Ultimately, human decision making depends on the trustor's view of the world; her
value system, what she knows and remembers, and the cognitive process she uses
to make a decision all play a role. However, these conditions are not fully known
externally. All trust models with a human trustor operates with an underlying set
of assumptions about how people evaluate trust. Sometimes these assumptions are
explicit, and sometimes they are embedded in complex algorithms. Regardless of
how these assumptions are defined, they are an approximation of human decision
In our previous examples, Chip trusted Alan also. Is this a new type of trust? Chip
is evaluating trust using an algorithm based on a model of trust. In computing, a large
number of trust models are proposed. Some attempt to mimic the cognitive trust by
incorporating how trust beliefs form and are used in decision making [ 1 , 10 ]. Some
models do not have a social cognitive component, but attempt to assess properties
of trustworthy entities and introduce optimal protocols for trusting. For example, an
algorithm for routing in mobile ad-hoc networks measures how well each node is
behaving to assess whether they are working properly and are not compromised [ 6 ].
The algorithm then concludes that a computational node can trust another. Another
notion of trust is introduced by ranking algorithms, which try to assess which sites
are likely to have more reliable links and updates its rank computation by valuing
the links from these sites more highly [ 7 ]. These models of trust are often based on
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