Merriam-Webster defines trust as,

: belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc.

: an arrangement in which someone’s property or money is legally held or managed by someone else or by an organization (such as a bank) for usually a set period of time

: an organization that results from the creation of a trust

When we feel Trust about someone or something, we make several assumptions – of prediction, interdependence, belief and reciprocity. There is risk in making these assumptions.

First, we have a mental model that predicts how someone will behave in the future situations. We envision different scenarios and believe we know how these scenarios will unfold. This reduces anxiety and worry, and allows us to be open and vulnerable.

Second, we are open and vulnerable about our emotions, without concern that the other person will take advantage of our openness. We believe that they will treat our openness with compassion and understanding. We expect that they will not use it for their own benefit, or harm us with the information we disclose.

Third, without full knowledge of their intentions or motivations, we believe someone will do what they promise. We give up something valuable or precious, without certainty that the other person will behave as we expect. But we believe the positive intent of the other person.

Finally, Trust requires future delivery of reciprocity. We give up something now, and believe that the other person has the ability (not just the intent) to do what we expect in the future. So we act now – we share resources, insights, feelings, etc., knowing that in future, should we need that help, it will be offered to us.

Trust involves risk that these assumptions will not be true. We may be wrong about our prediction of someone’s behavior. Our confidences may be shared in ways we did not expect. People may not have the intent or ability to follow through in the way we presume. Trust is so essential for cooperation, information sharing, problem solving, and conflict resolution that we accept these risks.

In the Caricature series of Sketches, the artist displays two people shaking hands to symbolize Trust. Shaking hands involves touching which is a very important to establish and convey Trust. Our skin is the largest organ, the first sense that brings us information of the outside world, and a very important way to share emotional signals that symbolize Trust. This sketch is an elegant way to demonstrate the emotion of Trust.


The emotion Trust in the Caricature series of sketches.

The Watercolors artist approached Trust differently. Trust is an emotion that is shared by living beings. For the sketch, the artist displayed a bird sitting on a human hand, pecking and eating the food offered in the hand. The bird has overcome the natural suspicion and fear of its species to Trust a human. It is a wonderful demonstration of Trust across species.


The emotion Trust in the Watercolor series of sketches.