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Researchers have long recognized the central and beneficial role that trust plays in effective intragroup processes and in facilitating constructive intergroup relations. Trust has been shown, for example, to facilitate the sharing of information within groups and to contribute to more cooperative interaction between groups.

Conceptualizing Trust

Although recognizing the benefits of trust, social scientists have also noted that trust is a psychologically and socially complex construct. Reflecting this psychological and social complexity, a concise and universally accepted definition of trust remains elusive even to this day. As a consequence, the term trust is used in a variety of distinct, and not always compatible, ways by different researchers. At one end of the definitional spectrum are formulations that highlight the ethical and moral facets of trust. ...

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