What leads us to trust people?:

The interesting thing is that it’s not consistent for different relationships. Turns out it’s one reason for new friends, another reason for old friends and a third reason for ones in the middle:
Prior meta-analytic evidence has indicated no association between relationship length and perceived trustworthiness. Viewing trustors as information processors, the authors propose a model in which relationship length, although having no direct effect on perceived trustworthiness, moderates the association between perceived trustworthiness and the basis on which people decide to trust each other. Specifically, as trustors learn about others, they base their trust on different kinds of information (demographic similarity, trustworthy behavior, and shared perspective). Hierarchical multiple regression analyses of a field survey of supervisors and subordinates from 3 companies (N = 88) provide evidence consistent with this prediction: Perceived trustworthiness is associated with demographic similarity in newer relationships, with trustworthy behavior in relationships that are neither brand new nor old but in-between, and with shared perspective in older relationships.
Source: Perceived Trustworthiness of Knowledge Sources: The Moderating Impact of Relationship Length. from Journal of Applied Psychology – Vol 94, Iss 6

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For more on the subject of detecting untrustworthy people, check out the work of Paul Ekman.

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