ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (4): 633-642.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2016.00633

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From trust violation to trust repair: The role of moral emotions

YAN Yu; WU Xia   

  1. (Department of Psychology, School of Philosophy, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China)
  • Received:2015-05-14 Online:2016-04-15 Published:2016-04-15
  • Contact: YAN Yu, E-mail:


Utilizing a cognitive perspective, earlier researchers investigated antecedents of trust violation and strategies of trust repair. In recent years, the important role of emotions in repairing trust has received increasing attention. Yet, the underlying mechanism of the effect of emotions has not been fully uncovered. Existing research examining the effect of emotions on trust repair mainly focuses on the cue-dependent effect of emotions, and the effect of discrete emotions (e.g., guilt, shame, anger, and sadness). A careful literature review reveals that guilt and empathy are the two most important moral emotions influencing trust repair. Specifically, guilt can encourage the trusted party to engage in compensating behaviors, while empathy can facilitate the trusting party to forgive others. Based on these findings, we build an emotion-based trust repair theoretical model that also integrates the moderating effects of target cues and trait forgiveness of the trusting party. We also suggest future research investigate the effects of other discrete emotions, particularly moral emotions, on trust repair, and the interaction effect between contextual factors and emotions.

Key words: trust repair, trust violation, target cues effect, moral emotions, guilt, empathy