The Social Psychology of Trust with Applications in the Internet

Analyse & Kritik 26 (1):48-62 (2004)
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Three levels of trust as a social psychological construct are delineated: trust in a specific person (relational trust), trust in people in general (generalised trust) and trust in abstract systems. Whereas much research is available on relational trust and generalized trust, much less is known about trust in systems. From theory and research several assumptions are derived which are related to the development of trust in the Internet. For example, the reliability of information technology is assumed to be directly related to the development of trust in the Internet. In addition, it is assumed that in situations in which it is hard to verify the justification for trust, people construct subjective beliefs which represent a transformation of relational trust into system trust. Applications of these assumptions for strengthening the trustworthiness of the Internet are discussed.



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