Trust in our fellow humans is something we have evolved as a protection to ourselves and our resources because as Aristotle said humans are social animals and without developing the instinct of trusting others, you can imagine where human race would have been today.
Many people are afraid to trust others because they always seem to trust the wrong person and regretting it while there are people who always trust the right person achieving great benefits in the end. Why is that difference?
A study at Oxford University which analyzed a General Social Survey has revealed a positive correlation between high IQ and trusting others . There could be two explanations for why intelligent people are more likely to trust others.
- More intelligent people are better at judging character and so they form relationships with people who are less likely to betray them.
- People with a high IQ are better at working out the situation and recognizing when there is a strong incentive for the other person not to meet their side of the deal.
This study not only gives rise to those observations, but it also supports the previous research that analyzed data on trust and intelligence from European countries. The conclusion of that research was that trust contributes to success of important social institutions, for example – welfare system and financial markets and the individuals who trust others report better health and greater happiness.
However, the Oxford research found that links between trust and health and between trust and happiness are not explained by intelligence because individuals who trust others might have reported better health and more happiness because they were more intelligent but this is not the case.
Analyzing the above data and observations, the study has concluded that trust is a valuable resource for an individual and although it is not simply an indication for higher intelligence but those who trust others more are on average more intelligent than others and have an ability to judge a person’s character better and being a good judge of character is a distinct part of human intelligence evolved through natural selection.
It is yet to find if there are other possible interpretations of this observation but this study has wider implications in our social set up including public health, government policy and many other places based on social values of mutual trust between people and institutions.
[Source: University of Oxford]