Trust Discrimination Tendency in Average Citizens at In-nation and Out-nation Levels in Canada, China and the United States

  •  Jianghe Niu    
  •  Ziqiang Xin    
  •  Nico Martins    


The aim of the study was to explore discrimination tendency expressed in trust towards average citizens at in-nation and out-nation levels. A total of 370 Americans, Canadians and Chinese people, who were not university students, participated in the study. A self-developed questionnaire was used in the research, and the results from this sample showed a trust discrimination tendency. Specifically, trust towards the average citizens of one’s own nation tends to discriminate: the level of Americans’ trust toward Americans was measured as the lowest, the level of trust between Chinese and Chinese was measured as the highest, and Canadians’ in-nation trust was intermediate. People’s trust towards the citizens of other nations tends to discriminate as well: Americans trust Canadians more than they trust Chinese, Canadians trust Americans less than they trust Chinese and Chinese trust Americans slightly less than they trust Canadians. In-nation trust tends to discriminate with out-nation trust: People’s trust towards the citizens of other nations is likely to be either more or less than their trust towards citizens of their own nation. The study found an interesting phenomenon of heterogeneity of in-nation trust and homogeneity of out-nation trust: the variances of in-nation trust tend to be greater than those of out-nation trust. Furthermore, when participants were asked how they trust the average citizens of other nations, they seem to have relatively more similar opinions for those citizens in generally highly trusted nations; however, they seem to have relatively more diverse perspectives for those citizens in generally low trusted nations. 

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