Dysfunctional trusting and distrusting: Integrating trust and bias perspectives

Patent, Volker (2022). Dysfunctional trusting and distrusting: Integrating trust and bias perspectives. Journal of Trust Research, 12(1) pp. 66–93.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/21515581.2022.2113887


This paper offers an integrative review of the concept of dysfunctional trust from a trust and bias research perspective. Trust and cognitive/social biases are isomorphically related concepts in their functions as reducers of cognitive effort and facilitators/inhibitors of action. In the case of dysfunctional trust and distrust, bias perspectives contribute theoretically to a framework for the study of the ‘errors’ in decision-making that lead to dysfunctional outcomes of trusting. By reviewing biases and their role in generating trust and the converse, the biasing role of trust within a trust antecedent framework, the review integrates the conceptual linkages between research on bias and heuristics and research on trust, providing a basis for further research and practical applications in educational, business, political, and media domains. The paper makes recommendations for research and practical applications to mitigate the impacts of misinformation, bias in decision-making and dysfunctional trust. Attending to cognitive and other biases in situations involving trust promises to support greater informational resilience by raising metacognitive awareness of bias and trust in human decision-making.

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