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News Release 05-112

Gender Influences Decisions About Trust

Men value group ties, women favor personal connections

Men tend to trust strangers that are members of a group. Women favor personal connections.

Men tend to trust strangers that are members of a group. Women favor personal connections.

July 7, 2005

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

According to an Ohio State University research team led by Marilynn Brewer, men and women weigh different factors when deciding which strangers they can trust. Men tend to trust strangers that share membership in a group or club with them, while women are more likely to trust those with personal ties--such as friends of friends.

The conclusions were based on a study published in the current issue of Group Processes and Intergroup Relations.

The results could help researchers better understand how social and cultural differences impact group dynamics and social interactions.

"Trust is a fundamental component of social interaction, whether between individuals, between organizations, or between countries," says NSF program manager Amber Story. "This research is innovative in that it links the processes involved in the decision to trust to the ways in which men and women define who they are and what groups they belong to."

The National Science Foundation and the Russell Sage Foundation funded the study.

For more details, see the Ohio State University Press Release.


Media Contacts
Nicole Mahoney, NSF, (703) 292-5321, email:

Principal Investigators
Amber L. Story, NSF, (703) 292-7249, email:

Marilynn B. Brewer, Ohio State University, (614) 292-9640, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2022 budget of $8.8 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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