Biological and psychological influences on interpersonal and political trust

Matthew Cawvey, Matthew Hayes, Damarys Canache, Jeffery J. Mondak

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Levels of interpersonal and political trust undoubtedly ebb and flow in response to external stimuli. Despite the variability in one’s environment, there is good reason to believe that interpersonal and political trust also originate from individual characteristics. In this chapter, we focus on the impact of biology and personality on trust. Biological factors and personality traits constitute relatively stable individual differences that influence perceptions, evaluations, and orientations toward the social and political world. Research on trust has examined both of these influences, and we review this literature below. The first section considers the role of biology in shaping trust, and the second examines trust as a dimension of personality and as an individual orientation that can be shaped by personality. We then present a brief statistical analysis of the impact of personality traits on interpersonal and political trust. The last section summarizes the discussion and suggests avenues for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Social and Political Trust
EditorsEric M Uslaner
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9780190274801
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Biological factors
  • Interpersonal trust
  • Personality
  • Personality traits
  • Political trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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