Trust refers to people's willingness to support, not resist, give control or otherwise be vulnerable to a trustee. Pytlik Zillig's research on trust and confidence focuses on the measurement and dimensionality of trust, especially trust in institutions; the development of trust over time; and the conditions that increase or decrease trust's basis in different antecedents, or moderate its effects. Her research, funded by several grants from the National Science Foundation, also has investigated the relationships between public engagement and trust. A researcher at the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center, Pytlik Zillig works with institutions to understand and diagnose institution- and population-specific sources of public trust and distrust and to conduct trustworthy public engagement processes.
A fellow with the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center, Mitchel Herian has worked extensively to understand how institutional trust -- individuals' trust in governmental institutions -- is formed and how to measure it appropriately. He also has researched the ways in which institutional trust impacts individuals public policy preferences and acceptance of governmental decisions. A recent study examined how measures of trust and social capital relate to health and wellbeing.