Intelligent people are more likely to trust others

Posted on March 18, 2014

"People who trust others seem to report better health and greater happiness"

Intelligent people are more likely to trust others, while those who score lower on measures of intelligence are less likely to do so, says a new study. Oxford University researchers based their finding on an analysis of the General Social Survey, a nationally representative public opinion survey carried out in the United States every one to two years.

The authors say one explanation could be that more intelligent individuals are better at judging character and so they tend to form relationships with people who are less likely to betray them. Another reason could be that smarter individuals are better at weighing up situations, recognising when there is a strong incentive for the other person not to meet their side of the deal.

The study, published in the journal, PLOS ONE, supports previous research that analysed data on trust and intelligence from European countries. The authors say the research is significant because social trust contributes to the success of important social institutions, such as welfare systems and financial markets. In addition, research shows that individuals who trust others report better health and greater happiness.

The Oxford researchers found, however, that the links between trust and health, and between trust and happiness, are not explained by intelligence. For example, individuals who trust others might have only reported better health and greater happiness because they were more intelligent. But this turns out not to be the case. The finding confirms that trust is a valuable resource for an individual, and is not simply a proxy for intelligence.

Lead author Noah Carl, from the Department of Sociology, said: ‘Intelligence is shown to be linked with trusting others, even after taking into account factors like marital status, education and income. This finding supports what other researchers have argued, namely that being a good judge of character is a distinct part of human intelligence which evolved through natural selection. However, there are other possible interpretations of the evidence, and further research is needed to disentangle them.’


Category(s):Trust Issues

Source material from Oxford University


Mental Health News

  • Self-Compassion leads to Happiness

    newsthumbThis article talks about how being compassionate towards the self, alleviates chronic pain and eventually encourages activeness and a happier life.

  • Solitude versus Loneliness

    newsthumbBeing alone should not be misunderstood for loneliness. Being alone does not necessarily mean one is lonely in fact, having some alone time is ...

  • Understanding a Controlling Partner

    newsthumbOne of the reasons why relationships fail or get torn apart, is due to the constant struggle for control between couples. This article talks about ...