Why Guilt-proneness leads to trust

Guilt-Proneness and Trust

The latest research published at the end of this article proves why guilt-proneness leads to trust.

The Cognitive principle Matrix shown below shows how this occurs, based on three factors, namely,

  • neuroceptions based on core beliefs
  • predictions made in the subconscious mind and
  • The relationship between between groups of principles


Guilt is based on core beliefs based in the gut brain.

Awareness of a threat, such as a break in trust creates a neuroprediction of possible outcomes, these outcomes are checked against core beliefs.

The core belief and impulse control is located gut brain. Guilt [negative principle] is activated in the heart when the core belief is tested and impulse control [self-control] takes over. The guilt feeling generates self-control and courage to act and restore trust and commitment. This neuro-prediction is then sent to the conscious mind to act on. The stronger the guilt feelings the more likely the conscious mind will be trustworthy.

However, the conscious mind will direct its attention to other factors, such as "what are others around me doing or thinking?" "are there other consequences to this decision?"

Who is trustworthy? Predicting trustworthy intentions and behavior.

Levine, Emma E.,Bitterly, T. Bradford,Cohen, Taya R.,Schweitzer, Maurice E.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Jul 12 , 2018, No Pagination Specified

Existing trust research has disproportionately focused on what makes people more or less trusting, and has largely ignored the question of what makes people more or less trustworthy. In this investigation, we deepen our understanding of trustworthiness. Across six studies using economic games that measure trustworthy behavior and survey items that measure trustworthy intentions, we explore the personality traits that predict trustworthiness. We demonstrate that guilt-proneness predicts trustworthiness better than a variety of other personality measures, and we identify sense of interpersonal responsibility as the underlying mechanism by both measuring it and manipulating it directly. People who are high in guilt-proneness are more likely to be trustworthy than are individuals who are low in guilt-proneness, but they are not universally more generous. We demonstrate that people high in guilt-proneness are more likely to behave in interpersonally sensitive ways when they are more responsible for others’ outcomes. We also explore potential interventions to increase trustworthiness. Our findings fill a significant gap in the trust literature by building a foundation for investigating trustworthiness, by identifying a trait predictor of trustworthy intentions and behavior, and by providing practical advice for deciding in whom we should place our trust. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)

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