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Cultures of trust: Effects of avatar faces and reputation scores on German and Arab players in an online trust-game


Bente, Gary; Dratsch, Thomas; Kaspar, Kai; Hässler, Tabea; Bungard, Oliver; Al-Issa, Ahmad (2014). Cultures of trust: Effects of avatar faces and reputation scores on German and Arab players in an online trust-game. PLoS ONE, 9(6):e98297.

Abstract

Reputation systems as well as seller depictions (photos; avatars) have been shown to reduce buyer uncertainty and to foster trust in online trading. With the emergence of globalized e-markets, it remains an urgent question whether these mechanisms, found to be effective for Western cultures, also apply to other cultures. Hypothesizing that members of collectivistic cultures in contrast to those of individualistic cultures would rely more on visual social cues (seller faces) than on factual information (reputation scores), we compared buying decisions of Arab and German participants in an experimental trust game. Photo-realistic avatars were used instead of photos to control facial features and expressions. The results revealed significant main effects for both reputation scores and avatar faces. Moreover, both variables significantly affected the purchase behavior of Arab as well as German buyers, suggesting cross-cultural universals in the processing of trust cues. The results have implications for future cross-cultural studies in e-commerce as well as the design of online markets and shared virtual environments.

Abstract

Reputation systems as well as seller depictions (photos; avatars) have been shown to reduce buyer uncertainty and to foster trust in online trading. With the emergence of globalized e-markets, it remains an urgent question whether these mechanisms, found to be effective for Western cultures, also apply to other cultures. Hypothesizing that members of collectivistic cultures in contrast to those of individualistic cultures would rely more on visual social cues (seller faces) than on factual information (reputation scores), we compared buying decisions of Arab and German participants in an experimental trust game. Photo-realistic avatars were used instead of photos to control facial features and expressions. The results revealed significant main effects for both reputation scores and avatar faces. Moreover, both variables significantly affected the purchase behavior of Arab as well as German buyers, suggesting cross-cultural universals in the processing of trust cues. The results have implications for future cross-cultural studies in e-commerce as well as the design of online markets and shared virtual environments.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:10 Feb 2015 14:24
Last Modified:05 Aug 2017 10:23
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
ISSN:1932-6203
Additional Information:Correction: 25 Aug 2014: The PLOS ONE Staff (2014) Correction: Cultures of Trust: Effects of Avatar Faces and Reputation Scores on German and Arab Players in an Online Trust-Game. PLoS ONE 9(8): e107075. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0107075
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0098297
PubMed ID:24901696

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