14The Contributions of Attribution Theories to Trust Research

Edward C. Tomlinson


The term attribution refers to an individual’s suspected or inferred cause of a behaviour or event (Fiske & Taylor, 2013). Social psychologists have developed a variety of attribution theories that seek to explain the cognitive process individuals use to explain why events occur in their social environment. This chapter highlights the social-psychological basis for understanding why attributions are central to trust dynamics. Specifically, I provide an overview of attribution theories that have been invoked in trust research and review the trust literature in terms of how these theories have provided a framework for understanding trust development, ...

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