chapter  8
Social Uncertainty and Collective Paranoia in Knowledge Communities: Thinking and Acting in the Shadow of Doubt
WithRoderick M Kramer
Pages 30

This chapter presents a different approach to conceptualizing the antecedents and consequences of collective distrust and suspicion in knowledge communities. It outlines the role social cognitive processes play in the development of distrust and suspicion among interdependent decision makers in collective contexts. The chapter examines how basic cognitive processes such as decision makers' self-consciousness and tendency to ruminate about others' motives and intentions affect trust-related judgments. It argues that such cognitive processes can contribute to the emergence of irrational or exaggerated forms of distrust and suspicion within a knowledge community. The chapter reviews knowledge communities as posing a trust dilemma for individual decision makers. It shows that one of the factors that exacerbate judgment and choice in trust dilemmas is uncertainty about others' motives, intentions, and behavior. The chapter describes a laboratory paradigm that was developed to test some hypotheses derived from this framework.