Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Reciprocal-trust relationships are at the very foundation of our social contracts with one another. Trust and the implied promise of reciprocity have real world effects on how we make decisions in our personal and professional lives. When we have received a benefit from another person, and later have an opportunity to give a benefit back to that same person, we often use the level of trust implied by the initial benefit received as a guide to the amount of benefit we should return. The current study investigated how the clarity of the trusting individual's intentions to trust and his/her group membership affect the trusted party's reciprocity decisions. Participants in the study completed four rounds of a trust games (which was call an investment activity), each time ostensibly with a different interaction partner. They played two rounds where they were able to see how much the other person had initially been given (the clear condition), and two rounds where they were not able to see (the cloaked condition). They also played two rounds (one clear and one cloaked) with people who possessed the same thinking style was them (their in-group) and two rounds (one clear and one cloaked) with people who possessed a different thinking style from their own (their out-group). An analysis of the results revealed that there was a significant Visibility x Group Membership interaction predicting the amount that participants returned. Whereby, participants returned significantly less to out-group members (in comparison to in-group members), but only when the other person's intentions to trust had been obscured.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.