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Who’s a yea-sayer? Habitual trust and affirmative response behavior

Posten, A-C. & Steinmetz, J. ORCID: 0000-0003-3299-4858 (2022). Who’s a yea-sayer? Habitual trust and affirmative response behavior. European Journal of Social Psychology, 52(3), pp. 584-596. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.2839


We test the hypothesis that people who habitually trust others respond more affirmatively to questions (i.e., acquiescence). Six studies explore whether people’s habitual tendency to trust others translates into a general acquiescent response bias. By re-analyzing large-scale cross-country data, Study 1 shows that participants’ level of habitual trust predicts agreement across multiple and diverse concepts. Studies 2a-b show that habitual trust predicts acquiescent responding in classic psychological questionnaires. Habitual trust likewise predicts behavioral acquiescence, such as agreement to assigning monetary awards to others (Study 3) and staying with the suggested default option in a real choice paradigm (Study 4). Furthermore, the relation between habitual trust and acquiescent responding holds across different communication contexts (Study 5). These results imply that habitual trust predicts how individuals respond to questionnaire items that are used across a variety of research domains.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations aremade. ©2022 The Authors. European Journal of Social Psychology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Publisher Keywords: habitual trust, response bias, affirmation, acquiescent response bias
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
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