Training Track: Applied Social
Advisor: Jim Larson, Ph.D.
Office: Coffey Hall LL05
My research focuses on social and cognitive processes that impact reciprocity within and between groups.
Master's Thesis Abstract:
Reciprical-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. The concepts of trust and reciprocity have been studied extensively across a variety of disciplines, (i.e. economics, psychology, sociology, political science, anthropology, etc.) and on a multitude of levels (interpersonal, organizational, institutional, etc.; Ostrom & Walker, 2005). Across disciplines, the concept of trust is generally regarded as the motivation to accept vulnerability under conditions of risk and interdependency based upon the expectation that the person who is being trusted will reciprocate (Colquitt, Scott, and LePine, 2007; Rousseau, Sitkin, Burt, Camerer, 1998). Reciprocity is defined as the motivation to reward the generous acts of another by responding in a way that is helpful to the other person (Cox, 2004). The reciprocation of an early demonstration of trust can instigate a mutually beneficial cycle of trust and reciprocity (Pillutla, Malhotra, Murnighan, 2002). In contrast, a breach of trust can have a decidedly negative impact on the relationship, particularly when it occurs early on (Lewicki & Bunkerm 1995; Kim, Ferrin, Cooper, & Dirks, 2004; Lount, Zhong, Sivanthan, & Murnighan, 2008). Therefore, the very beginning of these relationships is particularly important.