What is it about?

Are people inherently trusting or distrusting? While this question might seem to be philosophical in nature, our research provides a scientific way to show that people have an inherent tendency to trust others, arguably learned throughout life. Relying on the time needed and errors made by people when engaging in fast and repeated trust and distrust decisions, we show that it is easier for them to trust than to mistrust. Just as other dominant responses — for example, speaking in your first language as compared to a second language — trust is faster, and shows similar response patterns as other dominant response tendencies (i.e., such responses are faster, harder to switch to, more interfering, and more facilitating).

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Why is it important?

Studying inner tendencies of people is difficult, as their direct, overt behavior depends on many factors. A real-life decision to trust depends on many things, such as the person to trust or the mood the decision-maker is in. The developed dominant behavior measure (DBM) allows us to go beyond such structural restraints, and measures dominant social inner tendencies (such as trusting), which so far has been limited to non-social domains. Thereby, the DBM opens ways of studying further inner social tendencies, such as a human tendency to tell the truth or to act pro-socially.

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This page is a summary of: Are there dominant response tendencies for social reactions? Trust trumps mistrust—evidence from a Dominant Behavior Measure (DBM)., Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, January 2023, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/pspa0000334.
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