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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2010 Mar;98(3):420-33. doi: 10.1037/a0017344.

The impact of positive mood on trust in interpersonal and intergroup interactions.

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Department of Management and Human Resources, Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University, 2100 Neil Avenue, 720 Fisher Hall, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.


Although the trust development literature has been characterized overwhelmingly by rationality-based models, the current research attempts to explain how affect can influence this process. To better understand how and why affect would influence trust development, 5 experiments were conducted to examine the effects of positive mood on people's tendencies to trust and distrust others. Consistent with theory, which argues that positive mood promotes schema reliance, the relationship between positive mood and trust was influenced by the presence of cues that indicated whether the other party was trustworthy or untrustworthy. Across 5 studies, trusting behaviors (Experiments 1-3) and perceptions of trustworthiness (Experiments 4 and 5) were found to be influenced by cues associated with trust or distrust. Specifically, when available cues about the other party promoted trust, people in a positive mood increased their trust; when cues promoted distrust, people in a positive mood decreased their trust. The data support the expectation that affect can influence trust development, although the relationship is more complex than main effect predictions of mood-congruency models.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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