Cardiff University

The Cardiff team (Antony Manstead, Job van der Schalk, Magdalena Rychlowska) investigates how social-appraisal processes foster trust and cooperation in dyads and between groups. Trust is defined as expecting another person to act benevolently in situations where self-interest and collective interest conflict (e.g., Yamagishi, 2011). It is well established that trust is influenced by emotion. For example, faces with a happy appearance are judged as more trustworthy than faces with an angry appearance (Todorov, Pakrashi, & Oosterhof, 2009). Further, experiencing happiness or gratitude increases trust and experiencing anger reduces it (Dunn & Schweitzer, 2005). The social-appraisal approach provides another reason for believing that emotion impacts on trust. Emotions are expressed nonverbally and are typically seen as authentic reflections of emotions and underlying appraisals. If we know how another person appraises a mixed-motive situation (Schelling, 1960), we have a better basis for forming expectations about how they will act.

Our studies test the proposition that social appraisal processes help participants to infer the trustworthiness of unknown others, and thereby influence the degree to which they cooperate with these others when they belong to a different social group.