How do cognitive and affective trust impact process–outcome interaction?

Xuan-Na Wu1, Xue Wu2, Wei Wang3
1Key Laboratory of Learning and Cognition, Department of Psychology, Capital Normal University, People’s Republic of China
2School of Nursing, Peking University, People’s Republic of China
3Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, People’s Republic of China
Cite this article:  Wu, X.-N., Wu, X., & Wang, W. (2016). How do cognitive and affective trust impact process–outcome interaction? Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 44(8), 1395-1408.

Volume 44 Issue 8 | e5891 | Published: September 2016 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2016.44.8.1395

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Procedural justice interacts with outcome favorability to influence people’s beliefs and behaviors. However, different patterns of process–outcome interaction have been observed. In this study, we proposed that cognitive trust in authority and affective trust in authority would determine the pattern of process–outcome interaction in the field of public policy. A scenario designed to assess acceptance of public policy was used to examine our hypotheses. Participants were 373 Chinese undergraduate students. Results showed that cognitive trust moderated the process–outcome interaction, but affective trust did not. When participants had strong cognitive trust in authority, procedural justice reduced the negative effect of an unfavorable outcome (low–low interactive pattern); when participants had little cognitive trust in authority, procedural justice heightened the positive effect of a favorable outcome (high–high interactive pattern). The implications of our findings and possible avenues to explore in future research are discussed.

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