Date of Award

Fall 2023

Document Type

Open Access Thesis



First Advisor

Brent Simpson


Trust is a fundamental component of our social relationships. Whether we are interacting with our strong social ties, like family and friends, or complete strangers, there is a degree of trust that we must place in the other person. Because trust is essential to our continued interactions it is important that we learn how this trust forms as well as how it is influenced by various social factors. This paper utilizes an experimental approach to examining the relationship between status and initial trust. Using a two condition experiment with 182 participants, this study found that the presence of a single status difference did not influence levels of initial trust between complete strangers when asked to work collectively on a task. In fact, many participants demonstrated moderate to high levels of initial trust which supports previous research that has found that we often exhibit higher levels of initial trust to unknown others.


© 2024, Valerie Kristen Barron

Included in

Sociology Commons