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The Impact Of Gratitude On Social Trust

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A significant amount of scholarly research on gratitude and social trust has been done by a number of academic leaders in psychology and other fields such as McCullough, Nowak, and DeSteno, yet few scholars have provided a systematic, intuitive, and coherent discussion of the relationship between the two. To address this gap in scholarship, this essay proposes a view based on extensive theoretical content and experimental research that gratitude influences psychological process, emotional experience and decisions making during the trust-related social interaction, which is, being neglected, widely used in many specific situations throughout These theoretical elements and experimental studies will be mentioned and explained in subsequent paragraphs.

In the field of gratitude, a recent trend has been for scholars in the fields of secular psychology and philosophy to join in the study of gratitude. Like in Thessalonians 5:18, St. Paul's said ''In every thing give thanks, for This is the will of God,'' and most scholars of Christianity have placed great emphasis on gratitude. Now, however, gratitude and its conceptual contours seem to have suddenly become a hot topic in the fields of philosophy and psychology. What is driving this shift? Emmons attribute this to advances in measurement methods. He argues that self-report measures of gratitude have been heavily used in recent years, thus helping research become clearer and more proactive (4-4). Liz Gulliford however, argue that the rise of moral ethics in moral philosophy at the end of the twentieth century, which prompted a new look at emotional virtues, is the main reason why gratitude has become a focus of attention (13).

Philosophers and psychologists, however, have very different approaches to how they study gratitude. Philosophers study gratitude through a conceptual analytical approach, which also includes thought experiments that set up moral dilemmas. They tend to think of gratitude as a moral concept and focus on its moral justification, salience, and implicit meaning. At the same time, most philosophers tend to think of gratitude as a virtue, or at least a 'potential virtue,' although 'It does not appear in the list of standard virtues in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, nor among the additional virtues of a purely emotional nature that He introduces in the Rhetoric' (13). One of the characteristics that gratitude shares with the other virtues is that one can be taught to correct those who do not possess the virtue. Very normal. However, if gratitude is to be considered a virtue, it requires a standard of moral distinction between access, deficient or misjudged, just like any other virtue. Moreover, for gratitude to be a moral virtue, we also need to understand the distinctive or intrinsic ethical benefits of gratitude. There is a lack of rigorous academic regulation of the inclusion of gratitude as a virtue in virtue ethics systems (5). Rather than focusing on conceptual clarity and moral legitimacy, psychological research on gratitude has attempted to quantify and measure gratitude. Psychologists often attempt to show the effects of gratitude through changes in relevant physiological indicators and questionnaires. Philosophers and psychologists have also often attacked each other, arguing that their own field of measurement is superior in the study of gratitude. Psychologist Emmons has argued that 'only a 'scientific perspective' can provide an ' An evidence-based approach' to the correlates of gratitude'. However, opponents argue that when psychologists measure so-called happiness traits, they usually use subjective instruments, which is the questionnaires filled out by research objectives, which do not accurately quantify the results and can be influenced by the psychological implication of the research target's self (13).

Moreover, philosophical and psychological scholars have not been able to agree on a definition of what people mean by gratitude. Early psychologists of gratitude argued that gratitude is just an action. And in McConnell's 1993 philosophical study, he emphasized the inner emotions and intentions while insisting that certain actions are necessary for gratitude. He argued that the return of goodwill and the public expression of gratitude represent the outward behavioral characteristics of gratitude. Gratitude must involve a fully and authentically realized feeling of gratitude. It is not enough to express gratitude through gestures or to return gifts. Virtue ethics, on the other hand, is primarily concerned with gratitude as a trait. Virtue ethics seems to be more concerned with having a stable and continuous intention than with action: one can be thought of as fully and unreservedly grateful-even if, for some reason, one does not have the ability or opportunity to express this emotion in action. And extending from the virtue ethics claim that gratitude is a trait, some psychologists argue that it is important to distinguish between occasional gratitude as a state and gratitude as a trait, and that the study of the two should not be conflated. They support a positive psychology approach that distinguishes between gratitude as a situational emotion and as a character strength. Currently, there is still no consensus on the different definitions of gratitude as an action, emotion, or trait (13).

In philosophical analyses of gratitude, there is also a common controversy about whether gratitude is a triadic concept or a dyadic concept, a triadic concept that refers to three variables: the beneficiary, the benefit, and the beneficiary's grateful benefactor. But a group of scholars, represented by Carl, believe that gratitude follows a binary structure. 'There is a recipient of good will, who directs this good will to the gift itself' means that people are grateful for something rather than being grateful to someone (13). One might argue that whether gratitude is a ternary or a binary concept may affect whether it should be considered a non-obligatory virtue. For example, one might argue that an unobjective attitude of gratitude for all the goodness one has received is a more noble form of gratitude (5).

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In addition to conceptual studies of gratitude, scholars have also attempted to explore the social implications of gratitude. McCullough propose that gratitude has two psychological characteristics associated with pro-social behavior. First, McCullough and his colleagues propose that gratitude is a benefit detector, an emotional readout that reminds people that they have benefited from another person's pro-social behavior. They also propose that gratitude motivates pro-social behavior by creating a psychological state that supports generosity and cooperation. They suggest that those who receive gratitude feedback are more willing to give to others than those who do not receive it. Those who are grateful to the giver are willing to make more effort to help the giver, and they are also more likely to help a stranger (6). In this way, gratitude serves as a reminder of the reciprocity norm, which requires people to do something in return for the help they receive.

This facilitation of reciprocal relationships by gratitude may not be accidental. For the evolutionary basis of gratitude may be the reciprocal relationship among primates (13). This idea may have come from Darwin, who argued that gratitude is observable in the behavior of nonhuman primates. And gratitude can evolve independently of language, since some nonverbal behaviors are useful for expressing gratitude, such as shaking hands (6).

Trivers' theory is also consistent with two other findings on gratitude. First, people are expected to be more grateful to strangers, acquaintances, and friends who are beneficial to them than to genetically related relatives. For reasons of kin altruism, gratitude should not be activated by the prospect of receiving benefits from genetic relatives. This could explain why gratitude for relatives is significantly less intense than gratitude for non-relatives. Second, in addition to promoting reciprocal altruism, gratitude is also thought to promote 'upstream reciprocity,' which is recipient transmission of benefits to a third party, rather than to the giver. Gratitude increases people's trust in third parties. Gratitude increases trust in strangers by helping to build relationships that support reciprocally altruistic behavior. Gratitude is therefore considered to be potentially more valuable in the establishment of reciprocal relationships than in their maintenance. This distinction between givers and strangers also supports, to some extent, the argument that gratitude is a ternary concept, as mentioned earlier. Using computer simulations, Nowak conclude that upstream reciprocity can improve an organism's adaptability (6). This is because when resources flow dynamically within an organization, members are physically and spiritually healthier and wealthier. Simple. Resource cycling helps individuals become more adaptive in a dynamic environment (15). If this evolution of gratitude promotes upstream reciprocity, it will be less difficult for altruism to stabilize in a population, making it more effective (6). She argues that most traditional research on gratitude has been limited by its focus on the relationship between benefactor and beneficiary. Upstream reciprocity has never been studied at the level of the reciprocity chain or organization. Reciprocity in traditional experiments can be fully perceived and controlled by the participants because studying upstream reciprocity outside of the reciprocity chain only focuses on a single set of reciprocal relationships (15). However, this is not a good simulation of the social reality, when the reciprocal relationships in a mesh are not all fully perceived by the participants at one of the nodes. Therefore, it is doubtful that the upstream reciprocity found in the laboratory can be extended to real life. Therefore, Yenping sought to investigate the integrative function of gratitude using social network analysis techniques. By assessing the direct relationship between the participants and the recipient, they build an organizational network that reinserts the individual into a larger, more authentic life structure. The research team completed a semester-long study of reciprocal relationships with 174 students at National Taiwan University, which broadly confirmed the social importance of gratitude in promoting upstream reciprocity (15).

After clarifying how gratitude facilitates upstream reciprocity, i.e., increases trust in strangers, it's not hard to understand the enormous impact of gratitude on trust-related social contacts. Dariusz and his team conducted a set of experiments with 61 Polish university students between the ages of 18 and 32 in an attempt to The experiment was conducted by Dariusz and his team with 61 Polish university students between the ages of 18 and 32, in an attempt to provide a descriptive and researchable case study of this effect. The experiment was conducted in the form of a comparison experiment between a control group and an experimental group. The experimental group received a gratitude intervention, while the control group did not. The basic approach of the gratitude intervention is to help the experimental subjects recall the things in their lives for which they are grateful (1).

In terms of psychological processes, by measuring the blood pressure and respiratory rate of the experimental subjects, the research team confirmed that gratitude raises the expectation of enthusiasm for trust decisions. Fleury and Chin, on the other hand, found that asking participants to recall experiences in their lives that produced gratitude led them to attribute the success of others to stable factors under his control rather than to luck. In other words, gratitude leads one to give recognition to the achievements of others. (6).Tsang also found that gratitude mediated the link between receiving valuable gifts and reward better than feelings of indebtedness (6). Although both indebtedness and gratitude are psychological states that arise as a result of being helped, both can motivate individuals to return the favor to the giver. However, feelings of indebtedness only narrow, rather than expand, one's social interactions. (1).

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The Impact Of Gratitude On Social Trust. (2022, February 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 26, 2024, from
“The Impact Of Gratitude On Social Trust.” Edubirdie, 21 Feb. 2022,
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The Impact Of Gratitude On Social Trust [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 21 [cited 2024 Feb 26]. Available from:
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