Cristiano Castelfranchi, Rino Falcone

How we risk when we trust. How we trust when we risk

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Trust; Risk; Uncertainty.

Trust and risk are inextricably intertwined in the mind of anyone who wants to pursue a goal, because one must rely on actions where the possibility of failure can be predictable. The relation between risk and trust is intrinsic: on the one hand, there cannot be any trust if there is no perceived risk, such as the uncertainty of success of those actions. Trusting someone implies the decision of exposing oneself to vulnerability. On the other hand, perceived risks entail actions that always rely on some degree of trust. Especially because uncertainty and perceived risk are necessarily ingrained in any state of trust, we need a sophisticated ontology of «risk», «uncertainty», and «trust». Moreover, we need to provide an explanation for all the relationships that these conceptual categories entertain with each other and how they get processed and assessed by means of cognition. In this work, we will try to define in detail these relationships and these sophisticated differences. In particular, we will try to describe the role they play; the difference between risk and uncertainty; the difference between taking a risk and undergo a risk independently from one's willingness; the importance of the different degrees of risk people attribute when they decide whether or not to trust somebody; and how non-linear factors linked with trust and risk intervene in people's decisions. Moreover, we believe that there exist also some generative dynamics between trust and risk: trust not only exposes people to risks, but increases risks and creates new risks (e.g.: risks of failure, disappointment, loss, helplessness, or betrayal). However, trust may even reduce risks because it has an effect on trustees' behaviors and it changes the probability of success, reciprocation and loyalty. In this sense, we would like to argue that trust (just like many other types of positive expectancies) is a selffulfilling prophecy that may radically modify the probability of an outcome.

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