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when forming opinions about humans (which tends to activate the medial prefrontal
cortex (mPFC)) vs. inanimate objects (which does not involve significant activation
of the mPFC) [ 49 ].
In support of the point that robots cannot be team-members, Groom and Nass
[ 22 ] argue that robots lack a mental model and a sense of self. The values or the
intent of the robot may not be visible to the human team-member. As a result, robots
will not be accepted as trustworthy teammates. The authors argue that most research
involving trust in automation concentrates on situations that do not involve high risk
and human stress. The dependence on robots in these systems is not critical, but
useful. Research suggests that people may choose to delegate a task to a robot or
automation only if they perceive their own ability to perform the task to be low [ 39 ].
These results indicate that while robots or automation in general can be considered
trustworthy, but this construct is not identical to that for human trustees. Hence,
care must be taken when applying results from human teams to situations involving
non-human entities.
Overall, this large body of work is based on the assumption that the trustworthi-
ness belief is described by different and possibly orthogonal traits of the trustee. To
which degree these traits are important is determined by the trustor's goals. While
the traits can be put in specific categories as described above, the interpretation
of each category is still specific to the given context. In fact, we can consider
these traits as specific aspects of the dependence of the trustor on the trustee. For
example, a trustor loaning money to another is dependent on the trustee's integrity
and capability to pay it back. A trustor trying to escape in a disaster is relying on the
ability of the trustee to provide correct and timely information. We will discuss
trust in information shortly. Furthermore, the trustee is trusted not to withhold
information and work to help the trustor. As a result, we can treat all these keywords
as describing the dependency aspect of context in specific situations. Their large
number represents the large variety of contexts in which trust becomes an important
Formation of Trust Beliefs
Trust is not a static belief; it changes over time as a function of various stimuli.
The way in which individuals form beliefs about trustworthiness of others has been
predominantly studied through surveys, as well as through behavioral experiments
involving various types of investment games. The survey method tends to focus
on the long-term development of trust. The development of social relationships
typically takes a long time, and has long-term effects on the success of the
participants. On the other hand, economic games typically involve people with no
prior knowledge of each other, and involve the shorter term effects of reciprocity and
processing of signals related to trustworthiness. These studies are used to understand
how people react to different incentives and sanctions as well as by cognitive
psychologists to understand the social cognition of others' trustworthiness.
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