- A new study is giving the mistrustful among us something to consider: intelligence strongly correlates with generalized trust. “Generalized trust” in this case refers to a belief that most people can be trusted—that, on average, your fellow man or woman is probably a good egg
- As it turns out, a fair amount of research has been conducted on the topic, and perhaps surprisingly intelligence and trust appear to move in lockstep.
- Participants were asked this question: “Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted or that you can’t be too careful in dealing with people?”
- the results were clear: individuals with the highest verbal ability were 34 percentage points more likely to trust others than individuals with the lowest verbal ability
- Why this correlation exists is open to debate. The researchers offer a few possibilities, including that smarter people may be better at evaluating others’ trustworthiness, so they tend to select people for relationships who are less likely to betray them.
- Then there’s the possibility that intelligent people are less likely to buy into black and white absolutes, and realize that generally people aren’t purely “good” or “bad”—that most of us fall well within the broad, blurry area between.
- people with more generalized trust are more likely to report good or excellent health, and are more likely to describe themselves as “very happy.”
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