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Nonverbal content and swift trust: An experiment on digital communication

Zakaria Babutsidze, Nobuyuki Hanaki () and Adam Zylbersztejn ()
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Adam Zylbersztejn: GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Université de Lyon - UJM - Université Jean Monnet [Saint-Étienne] - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon

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Abstract: We experimentally study the effect of the mode of digital communication on the emergence of swift trust in a principal-agent relationship. We consider three modes of communication that differ in the capacity to transmit nonverbal content: plain text, audio, and video. Communication is pre-play, one-way, and unrestricted, but its verbal content is homogenized across treatments. Overall, both audio and video messages have a positive (and similar) effect on trust as compared to plain text; however, the magnitude of these effects depends on the verbal content of agent's message (promise to act trustworthily vs. no such promise). In all conditions, we observe a positive e ect of the agent's promise on the principal's trust. We also report that trust in female principals is sensitive to the availability of nonverbal cues about interaction partners.

Keywords: Digital communication; Trust; Hidden action; Nonverbal content; Principal-agent relationship; Promises (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp
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