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The virtual maze: A behavioural tool for measuring trust

Hale, J; Payne, MEM; Taylor, KM; Paoletti, D; Hamilton, AFDC; (2018) The virtual maze: A behavioural tool for measuring trust. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology , 71 (4) pp. 989-1008. 10.1080/17470218.2017.1307865. Green open access

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Abstract

Trusting another person may depend on our level of generalised trust in others, as well as perceptions of that specific person's trustworthiness. However, many studies measuring trust outcomes have not discussed generalised versus specific trust. To measure specific trust in others, we developed a novel behavioural task. Participants navigate a virtual maze and make a series of decisions about how to proceed. Before each decision, they may ask for advice from two virtual characters they have briefly interviewed earlier. We manipulated the virtual characters' trustworthiness during the interview phase and measured how often participants approached and followed advice from each character. We also measured trust through ratings and an investment game. Across three studies we found participants followed advice from a trustworthy character significantly more than an untrustworthy character, demonstrating the validity of the maze task. Behaviour in the virtual maze reflected specific trust rather than generalised trust, whereas the investment game picked up on generalised trust as well as specific trust. Our data suggests the virtual maze task may provide an alternative behavioural approach to measuring specific trust in future research, and we demonstrate how the task may be used in traditional laboratories.

Type: Article
Title: The virtual maze: A behavioural tool for measuring trust
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/17470218.2017.1307865
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/17470218.2017.1307865
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: behavioural measure, investment game, nonverbal behaviour, trust, virtual reality
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10042146
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