Networking Reference
In-Depth Information
Chapter 3
Trust as a Social and Cognitive Construct
In this chapter, we concentrate on the study of trust as a social and cognitive
construct. In particular, we concentrate on the role social networks and social
institutions play in how people trust each other. A person's trust for a specific
institution impacts their trust evaluations as the trustor is able to draw inferences
based on the role the trustee plays in an institution. This is especially important
when firsthand experience with the trustee is not possible. Even when the trustee is
known to the trustor, the institutions may still be part of the trust context in different
ways. We examine these in detail in this chapter.
We review social cognition research that concentrates on how people perceive
others. In relationships with other people, two distinct attributes play a role in trust
evaluation: the trustworthiness and the competence of the trustee. We show that
these two attributes are also discussed in relation to different social institutions.
This helps us frame the dependence component of trust in better detail. We also
review work that discusses trust for automated systems and to which degree this
construct is similar to and different from trust for another person. This helps us
understand how the dependence relations may change when the trustee is not a
person. Finally, we review some of the work on trusting information, in particular,
networked information processing. These studies also outline the view of trust
involving a complex goal and underline the importance of the trustor's confidence
in the given topic area as well as the trust for the information source.
Trust and Institutions
Social institutions take many forms. Social networks and culture operate on an
informal but commonly-agreed set of norms and behavior patterns. On the other
hand, legal and economic institutions are based on formal sets of rules and protocols
that describe what constitutes acceptable behavior. In general, these systems help
promote actions that require trust, either between individuals or other actors in
society. This is typically the result of the role the institution plays in reducing the
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