My talk explores the conceptual relationship between trust and deception. I discuss five main topics: deceptive signals of trustworthiness, the suspension of uncertainty in trust, the moral implications of trusting and deceiving, the trustor’s self-deception, and the reversibility of trust. My conclusion is that trust and deception both enable and prevent one another and that this ambivalent relationship is due to the leaps and lapses of faith that characterize trust and distrust. Beyond implications for further research, the trust-deception ambivalence can help us make better sense of deception in private and public life against the background of trust relationships that enable, prevent, require, and prohibit deception – all at the same time.
Guido Möllering is associate professor of organization and management at Jacobs University Bremen. Before that he was senior research associate at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge and completed his habilitation at the Freie Universität Berlin. He is the author of Trust: Reason, Routine, Reflexivity (2006) and has co-edited the Handbook of Research Methods on Trust (due out November 2011). In 2009 he received the Peregrinus Award of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities for his interdisciplinary work on trust, and in 2010 he became an associate editor of the recently launched Journal of Trust Research.