Nathan! I totally agree on the three things you mention here. I did tandem skydiving six months ago (I have to say it was not for the sake of research, but for pleasure, that was at least what I expected from the jump) and I trusted the instructor every single second.
I would add, to this particular case, that knowing that the instructor has jumped X times already (which we asked, and It was some thousand times) helps a lot to trust building. It reinforces the idea of "she/he knows the perfect process". Furtheremore, when you jump you believe the instructor does not want to die, so knowing you are attached to her/him makes you think he'll do his best.
Well, now I'll start thinking how to extrapolate those insights!