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Are people in socially dominant groups more trusted than people in subordinate groups? Societies tend "to be structured as systems of group-based social hierarchies" (Sidanius & Pratto, 1999, p.31), with different groups maintaining higher and lower status levels. A dominant group is characterized by a disproportionately large share of power, wealth, social status, and good health care. A subordinate group has less power, wealth, social status, and poorer health care, and is often engaged in more high-risk occupations. Hierarchical group distinctions can involve "any of an essentially infinite number of potential distinctions between groups of human beings" (p. 48). Individuals generally accept, support, and even desire, the existence of such group-based social hierarchies. In the United States, gender, education, income, race, and increasingly, linguistic group (Wong, 2006), are distinctive hierarchical social groupings. Trust is often described as a belief or confidence about another party's integrity (i.e., reliability, predictability, and dependability) and/or benevolence (i.e., caring, good will, and positive motives, and intentions; Mayer, Davis & Schoorman, 1995; Nooteboom, 2007; Ross & LaCroix, 1996). For the purposes of this study, trust is defined as confidence in, and positive beliefs and expectations about, other people's and groups' intentions, attitudes, and behavior. Past research on differences in trust among social groups has typically focused on the level of trust that members of particular social groups exhibit. For instance, research has explored issues such as demographic differences in the belief that "most people can be trusted" (Sztompka, 1999); gender differences in trust of unknown partners (Wang & Yamagishi, 1995); and the effects of race, ethnicity, and income on the trust of personal physicians (Schnittker, 2004; see also Sheppard, Zambrane, & O'Malley, 2004).

Professioneel en technisch
1 december
North American Journal of Psychology

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