both on the specific trustee, e.g., the judge of a specific court, and the overall system
that controls the actions available to the judge. In the absence of any information
about the specific judge or the court system, the trust evaluation may depend on
other external signals that are deemed relevant, such as perceptions about authority
figures or cultural expectations.
Trust and Culture
It is not clear that we can define what culture is, but we can say that people live
culturally. People are alike in their “cultural living” if they share the same values
and ideas. People can be alike with respect to some values and different with respect
to others. The more values they share, the more alike they are culturally [ 16 ].
As discussed in the previous section, culture allows people to develop common
behavior patterns. These patterns can then be used to form expectations about how
others will behave in the future [ 78 ] and what their intentions are. These are
particularly useful in trust evaluations; those who are deemed to belong to one's own
social group are expected to have positive intentions, which engenders cooperative
behavior. On the other hand, those who are considered outside of one's social group
are met with competitive and aggressive behavior [ 17 ].
There is a great deal of research in culture, with several dimensions of analysis.
For example, one can consider whether the focus of attention is on individual
achievements versus on overall harmony [ 51 ]. Nisbett points out the differences
in eastern and western cultures in which individuals pay greater attention to either
similarities between individuals or differences. In more individualistic cultures,
people may pay more attention to reputation and have a higher level of trust
towards individuals in general. Cultures that pay higher attention to relationships
between people place a much higher importance in trust relationships based on prior
experience [ 78 ].
Another approach due to anthropologist Mary Douglas [ 12 ] describes how
society imposes control on individuals based on two dimensions. The group dimen-
sion measures how much people's lives are controlled by group expectations, i.e.,
whether they are individualistic or group-oriented. The grid dimension measures to
which degree actions are structured around rules: whether individuals are expected
to follow specific rules or if they are free to choose from a set of different behaviors.
These two dimensions are a more detailed explanation of to which degree the
individual's decisions depend on the group behavior and the specific rules of
Other approaches consider culture as a socially-constructed reality in which
institutions themselves become actors and fulfill important functions. Objects have
meaning because everyone believes that they do. Institutions become stores of
knowledge which then regulate and control actions [ 77 ]. For example, a folk
tale about a tsunami that appeared more than 1,000 years ago informed the
residents about the correct course of action when the tsunami struck Miyatojima