Trust as a mechanism of system justification

Katarzyna Samson


People are motivated to hold favorable attitudes about the systems on which they depend, so they justify (i.e., rationalize, defend and bolster) forms of social and economic inequality, even if the inequality is disadvantageous to them. This paper examines how this system-justifying motivation is reflected in behaviors involving interpersonal trust. In a series of three experiments using the trust game I manipulate income inequality by providing participants with higher (advantaged position) or lower (disadvantaged position) initial endowments and measure their trust toward individuals on the same or on different positions. Results show that higher income individuals trust other higher income individuals more than lower income individuals (ingroup favoritism), while lower income individuals trust higher income individuals more than lower income individuals (outgroup favoritism). It is also shown that the strength of these biases is dependent on the level of endorsement of system justifying ideology and the legitimacy of the system. More trust toward those in advantaged positions within a social system, expressed both by equally advantaged as well as by disadvantaged others, not only secures the advantaged in their positions but also reinforces the underlying inequality.
Author Katarzyna Samson (Filia we Wrocławiu / II Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu)
Katarzyna Samson,,
- II Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu
Journal seriesPlos One, ISSN 1932-6203, (A 40 pkt)
Issue year2018
Publication size in sheets1.05
ASJC Classification1100 General Agricultural and Biological Sciences; 1300 General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology; 2700 General Medicine
URL pone.0205566
Languageen angielski
Trust as_tekst.pdf 3.79 MB
Additional file
Trust as_oświadczenie.pdf 32.17 KB
Score (nominal)40
ScoreMinisterial score = 40.0, 15-10-2019, ArticleFromJournal
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2017 = 1.111; WoS Impact Factor: 2017 = 2.766 (2) - 2017=3.352 (5)
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