Personality traits and the propensity to trust friends and strangers
Title: Personality traits and the propensity to trust friends and strangers
Citation: The social science journal, 2016, Vol. 53, No. 4, pp. 467-476
ISSN: 1873-5355; 0362-3319
Research on the foundations of social trust mainly concentrates on the evaluation of one's social environment. Empirical evidence focusing on the psychological origins of social trust is quite rare and the findings of these few studies remain inconclusive. Two innovations are proposed in order to systemize the knowledge about the foundations of social trust. First, we propose using a trust measure that is sensitive to different categories of trustees and refers to a realistic situation. Second, we argue for a broad conception of personality, rather than focusing only on selected attributes. Using data from a unique Swiss population survey, we show that the impact of personality traits on trust in strangers is stronger than on trust in friends. While conscientiousness and openness, in particular, are important traits for the development of both trust in friends and strangers, agreeableness is related to trust in strangers.
Available online 20 January 2016
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