Handbook of Research Methods on Trust
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Handbook of Research Methods on Trust

Second Edition

Edited by Fergus Lyon, Guido Möllering and Mark N.K. Saunders

With the growing interest in trust in the social sciences, this second edition of the Handbook of Research Methods on Trust provides a fully updated and extended account of quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods for empirical research. While many researchers have already drawn inspiration and insight from the previous edition, the dynamic development of trust research calls for further and deeper engagement with methodological issues, particular methods, practical research experience, and current challenges and innovations as offered by this new edition.
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Chapter 26: A voice is worth a thousand words: the implications of the micro-coding of social signals in speech for trust research

Benjamin Waber, Michele Williams, John S. Carroll and Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland


While self-report measures are often highly reliable for field research on trust (Mayer and Davis, 1999; McEvily and Tortoriello, 2011), subjects often cannot complete surveys during real time interactions. In contrast, the social signals that are embedded in the non-linguistic elements of conversations can be captured in real time and extracted with the assistance of computer coding. This chapter seeks to understand how computer-coded social signals are related to interpersonal trust. Self-report measures of trust reflect an important and often reliable tool for researchers interested in trust (Gillespie, Chapter 20 in this volume; Lewicki and Brinsfield, Chapter 4 in this volume; Mayer and Davis, 1999; McEvily and Tortoriello, 2011). However, self-report measures require subjects to stop and think about how much they trust others or are trusted by others. Researchers are not able to use these methods when subjects cannot stop to fill out surveys in real time. In our setting, medical conversations or handoffs, one member of the pair must quickly receive critical information about a patient’s current medical condition and then immediately begin caring for that patient. The rushed and technical nature of these conversations also makes qualitative research difficult because most of the social signals embedded in these conversations are non-verbal. During a transition in care, such as those we observed, medical personnel rarely stopped to relay social information verbally, making transcripts of their conversations useless for retrieving social content.

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