This paper introduces a distinction between suspicion and distrust. While distrust (trust) involves having negative (positive) expectations about another’s motives, suspicion is defined as the state in which perceivers experience ambiguity about another’s motives. Four experiments supported this distinction and showed that suspicion can present greater benefits than trust for generating information search and attaining integrative agreements in negotiation. In Experiment 1a, suspicious perceivers were characterized by consciously attributing more motives to a target compared to both distrusting and trusting perceivers. In Experiment 1b, suspicious perceivers were more willing to seek information. In Experiment 2a, Suspicious–Trusting dyads achieved greater joint outcomes in face-to-face negotiation than did Trusting–Trusting or Suspicious–Suspicious dyads. Experiment 2b showed that the suspicious participants’ ability to seek information in Suspicious–Trusting dyads mediated the superior performance of Suspicious–Trusting dyads over Trusting–Trusting dyads in attaining integrative agreements.
SINACEUR, M. (2010). Suspending judgment to create value: Suspicion and trust in negotiation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46(3), pp. 543-550.