Home > Trust > If You Are Able to Control Yourself, I Will Trust You: The Role of Perceived Self-Control in Interpersonal Trust

If You Are Able to Control Yourself, I Will Trust You: The Role of Perceived Self-Control in Interpersonal Trust

If You Are Able to Control Yourself, I Will Trust You: The Role of Perceived Self-Control in Interpersonal Trust

Francesca Righettia, , and Catrin Finkenauera

a Department of Social Psychology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Received 16 February 2010; revised 27 September 2010; accepted 30 September 2010. Available online 4 May 2011.

The present research tested the hypothesis that perception of others’ self-control is an indicator of their trustworthiness. The authors investigated whether, in interactions between strangers as well as in established relationships, people detect another person’s self-control, and whether this perception of self-control, in turn, affects trust. Results of 4 experiments supported these hypotheses. The first 2 experiments revealed that participants detected another person’s trait of self-control. Experiments 3 and 4 revealed that participants also detected the temporary depletion of another person’s self-control. Confirming the authors’ predictions, perceived trait and state self-control, in turn, influenced people’s judgment of the other person’s trustworthiness. In line with previous research, these findings support the positive value of self-control for relationships and highlight the role of perceived self-control for the development of a fundamental relationship factor: trust.

Author Keywords: trust; self-control; interpersonal perception; interpersonal judgment

This research was supported by Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research Grant No. 452-05-322 awarded to Catrin Finkenauer. We thank Kathleen Vohs for her precious help in proofreading and editing the final version of the manuscript and Joao Richmond for his assistance in collecting the data.

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Categories: Trust
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