Trust Studies

Trust Studies

at the Stanford Institute for Research in the Social Sciences

Research Team

Karen S. Cook is the Ray Lyman Wilbur Professor of Sociology and Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity. Her current research focuses on issues of trust in social relations and networks. She is also working on projects related to social justice, power-dependence relations and social exchange theory, in addition to collaborative research on physician-patient trust. She was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (1998-99) and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1996 and the National Academy of Sciences in 2007. She is Director of the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences at Stanford.

Rense Corten focuses on models for social interaction and cooperation. Using analytical methods whenever possible, he models the mechanisms that govern social processes, with a strong emphasis on micro-macro problems, social networks, and social dilemmas. He has looked at these mechanisms in the realms of education and inter-firm collaboration. At Stanford, he will work on experiments which try to disentangle two possible influences on human cooperation: partner choice and social networks. People cooperate in many situations, such as joint projects between researchers, inter-firm collaboration, or exchange of social support between friends.  Both partner choice and social networks have been argued to promote cooperation, but they are difficult to separate in natural settings. Their combined effects (in dynamic networks), moreover, are hardly studied. The experiments are designed to study the effects of partner choice and social networks separately and in combination.  In a separate project, he will examine a unique dataset containing complete information about a very large, national-scale, online friendship network.

Rense studied sociology and philosophy at Utrecht University and earned a doctorate in sociology from Utrecht University in June 2009.  Presently, he is a postdoctoral researcher at the ICS at Utrecht University.

Diana Dakhlallah, PhD Student, Department of Sociology, Stanford University

Elira Karaja,  Economist Postdoctoral Fellow, INET and UC Berkeley (Visiting Scholar)   For additional information, see Project Abstract.

Paolo Parigi is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology. His research in the field of social human behavior revolves around several questions:

How do organizations react to institutional uncertainty?

How do institutions shape the behavior of political actors, parties and social movements?

What explains the patterning in time and space of social behavior?

These questions direct Parigi’s work toward the behavior of organizations and institutions in two fields—historical sociology and political sociology — using quantitative methods to conduct his research. Parigi’s interest in methods has also directed his research toward methodology and the understanding of how social scientists use their tools to analyze human behavior

Bogdan State is a graduate student in the department of Sociology and was instrumental in establishing the IRiSS high speed computing facility. His research interests include social psychology, economic sociology, mathematical models, and complex systems. Last summer Bogdan completed an ethnographic study of CouchSurfers in four different countries. Bogdan is also currently pursuing a quantitative model of interpersonal trust, which he hopes to test using CouchSurfing data.

Press Releases   

October 2011:  Update on Couchsurfing Findings


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