Mistrust is a common cause of conflict between individuals belonging to different identity groups. When can such mistrust be overcome? We present a theoretical model of trust-building across social identity groups to address this question. Trust between groups increases when individuals in one group are willing to take a chance on engaging with members of the other group, their engagement is positively reciprocated, and they are able to credibly communicate the experience to their fellow group members, thereby increasing their belief that members of the other group are trustworthy. This process is made easier if the individuals are not too hostile to the out-group, are flexible enough to change their beliefs in response to new information, and are sufficiently attached to their own group to be honest about their experiences with out-group members.
This was originally published on SAGE Publications Ltd: Journal of Peace Research: Table of Contents.