Can I Trust You? Exploring How Gender and Familiarity Affect Trust Between Teenagers
The experiment involved a spread of female-female, male-male, and male-female pairings. These were across three familiarity levels: close friends, acquaintances and strangers. Participants (N= 120, 76 female vs. 44 male) were asked to face their partner and decide whether to share or steal a reward without consulting or talking about it to the other participant involved. While they were not in each other's sight (by means of cardboard partition), they were asked what they thought their partner would pick. The results of the experiment supported the trusting and cooperative behaviors proposed in the hypothesis. Overall, 43 trials (72%) ended with a result of the reward being shared, 13 (22%) with a result of successful defection (steal/share), and 4 (6%) with a result of unsuccessful defection (steal/steal). This result indicates that subjects were more likely to share than steal. Across all familiarity levels, female participants chose to share 88% of the time, whereas male participants chose to share 75% of the time. While differences between genders were inconclusive, because of the lack of statistical power from the small sample of male participants, the effects of familiarity suggest that people are more likely to share their cookies with strangers than with their closer friends.