Research Topic

Trust: The limits of human moral

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About this Research Topic

The role of trust in human interaction has been a long-standing question in social sciences, and the interest in this research topic has proliferated over the last few decades. The majority of scientists agree that trust is a necessary ingredient for almost all functioning human interactions, from love and ...

The role of trust in human interaction has been a long-standing question in social sciences, and the interest in this research topic has proliferated over the last few decades. The majority of scientists agree that trust is a necessary ingredient for almost all functioning human interactions, from love and friendship to economic prosperity and the emergence of large-scale organizations. Research in psychology, anthropology, and economics has made tremendous advancements in identifying the psychological factors that promote trust behavior among humans. These findings have inspired the development of interventions that promote effective interactions and discourage free-riding.
Contrary to positive benefits of trust, its pitfalls are related to cheating behavior and potential corruption. For instance, it has been found that trust among in-group members may facilitate unethical behavior of those tempted to boost their personal profit by bending ethical rules and justifying it by focusing on the benefits these members provide to their in-group.


The purpose of this Research Topic is threefold: 1. To identify how people actually behave in situations of trust and what are the psychological and situational factors that foster trust, moral behavior, and prosociality in general. 2. To unravel the extent to which trust settings may drive people to behave in immoral and counter productive ways. By identifying how people behave in these challenging situations we could foster practical interventions and public policy to encourage ethical and beneficial human interaction. 3. To clarify the importance of trust to effective cooperation, or potential cultural differences underlying this relationship.


To achieve this goal, the Research Topics will feature studies that advance current social theory, examine the cognitive processes that underlie trust and focus on both positive and negative sides of human interaction.


We encourage submissions that fall broadly into one of the following areas, but submissions in related areas that include valuable discussions in these directions will also be considered:


• Theoretical advances in trust
• The cognitive and physiological processes underlying trust behavior
• Field and laboratory experiments on human trust interactions and moral behavior
• Cross-cultural investigations regarding trust, cooperation and morality
• Advances on the relation between trust, cooperation and morality
• Practical interventions, public policies and organizational tools aiming at improving trust and discourage dishonesty


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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