Study says intelligent people "more likely to trust others"
The ability of people to trust others may be directly related to intelligence levels, concludes a new study from the University of Oxford in the U.K.
Scientists from the university’s Department of Sociology used data from the General Social Survey (GSS), a public opinion survey in the U.S., which has been used for previous research on trust and intelligence. The new study is the first, however, to analyze the relationship between the two. The survey includes questions about socioeconomic characteristics, behaviors and social attitudes, as well as an intelligence section with a vocabulary test and assessment on the participants’ understanding of the survey questions.
Following examination of the survey data, the researchers found that the participants who had higher intelligence scores reported being more likely to trust others than the participants who had lower intelligence scores. The credibility of the findings was strengthened by the researchers accounting for the participants’ socioeconomic behaviors and characteristics.
Although further research is needed to conclude the exact reasons for the findings, experts laid out potential reasons for the findings, published in the journal PLOS ONE. Lead researcher Noah Carl explained that, as human intelligence has evolved through natural selection, the ability to judge other’s character has also evolved; more intelligent individuals, who have become better judges of character are better able to develop relationships that minimize risk of betrayal. Researchers said that future studies will help provide a better understanding of the association between intelligence and trust, as well as how the ability to trust may affect health and happiness.