DP16188 Trustors' disregard for trustees deciding intuitively or reflectively: three experiments on time constraints

Author(s): Antonio Cabrales, Antonio M. Espín, Praveen Kujal, Stephen Rassenti
Publication Date: May 2021
Keyword(s): beliefs, dual process, intuition, reflection, Trust, trustworthiness
Programme Areas: Public Economics, Organizational Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=16188

Human decisions in the social domain are modulated by the interaction between intuitive and reflective processes. Requiring individuals to decide quickly or slowly triggers these processes and is thus likely to elicit different social behaviors. Meanwhile, time pressure has been associated with inefficiency in market settings and market regulation often requires individuals to delay their decisions via cooling-off periods. Yet, recent research suggests that people who make reflective decisions are met with distrust. If this extends to external time constraints, then forcing individuals to delay their decisions may be counterproductive in scenarios where trust considerations are important. In three Trust Game experiments (total n = 1,872), including within- and between-subjects designs, we test whether individuals trust more someone who is forced to respond quickly (intuitively) or slowly (reflectively). We find that trustors do not adjust their behavior (or their beliefs) to the trustee's time conditions. This seems to be an appropriate response because time constraints do not affect trustees' behavior, at least when the game decisions are binary (trust vs. don't trust; reciprocate vs. don't reciprocate) and therefore mistakes cannot explain choices. Thus, delayed decisions per se do not seem to elicit distrust.