Three Aspects of Interpersonal Trust

Analyse & Kritik 26 (1):30-47 (2004)
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Trust is generally held to have three different dimensions or aspects: a behavioral aspect, a cognitive aspect, and an affective aspect. While there is hardly any disagreement about trusting behavior, there is some disagreement as to which of the two other aspects is more fundamental. After presenting some of the main ideas concerning the concept of trust as used in the analysis of social cooperation. I will argue that affective aspects of trust must be included in any adequate account of the role of trust in social dilemma situations involving multiple equilibria. Cooperation in such situations requires coordination even though information on what another player might do is not available. A trusting person can handle such problems of cooperation by framing the situation in a way that goes beyond cognitive trust and solves what I shall call the problem of normative consent. I will conclude with some remarks about the design of institutions that foster trustful cooperation, especially in the context of the Internet
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