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Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2008 Dec;34(12):1601-12. doi: 10.1177/0146167208324512.

Getting off on the wrong foot: the timing of a breach and the restoration of trust.

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The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA.


Few interpersonal relationships endure without one party violating the other's expectations. Thus, the ability to build trust and to restore cooperation after a breach can be critical for the preservation of positive relationships. Using an iterated prisoner's dilemma, this article presents two experiments that investigated the effects of the timing of a trust breach-at the start of an interaction, after 5 trials, after 10 trials, or not at all. The findings indicate that getting off on the wrong foot has devastating long-term consequences. Although later breaches seemed to limit cooperation for only a short time, they still planted a seed of distrust that surfaced in the end.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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