Projects on Trust


Find descriptions of research projects on trust below. Visit the researcher's webpage by clicking on his/her name.


Biological and Cultural Perspectives of Trust and Cooperation

Researchers: Daniel Balliet, Paul van Lange

What food and water are to individual vitality is trust and cooperation to the vitality of relationships.  We examine the biological and cultural aspects of trust.  For example, in one project, we examine the genetic and cultural markers of trust and cooperation using a longitudinal study involving more than 500 extended twin family members.  We also examine how one can built, or repair trust, and the roles that gossip might play in the spreading of trust and distrust.  And we examine how the size of the group matters for the development of trust and cooperation.  Thus, by bridging biological and social approaches, we seek to understand the origins of trust and cooperation, and how they can be communicated to one another, and how trust and cooperation can be promoted and sustained in relationships.


Trust and Self-control in Relationships

Researchers: Paul van Lange, Francesca Righetti

This project focuses on the determinants of stability and trust in close relationships. The dissolution of close relationships is often rooted in people’s inability to deal with relationship threat, such as conflict, and the lure of attractive others. Self-control is essential in this predicament: it enables people to inhibit destructive impulses, and alter their behavior in a goal-directed manner. In this manner, self-control is key to maintaining trust in one’s partner, which in turn is the most important predictor of relationship stability. In this project, the relationship between self-control and various relationship-protective behaviors – such as forgiveness, sacrifice and faithfulness – are studied. We conduct experimental as well as longitudinal studies among various kinds of close relationships (mostly romantic relationship, but also friendships). We aim to unravel the processes underlying trust in close relationships, which may have important implications regarding relationship protection.