Intelligent People are More Likely to Trust Others: Study

First Posted: Mar 19, 2014 04:17 PM EDT

A study based on an analysis of the General Social Survey that is carried out every one to two years in the United States found that more intelligent people were more likely to trust others than those with lower IQ scores.

Researchers believe that one plausible explanation for this outcome may be that intelligent people are better at judging character and more likely to form relationships with people who may be more trust worthy.

"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," said lead author Noah Carl, from the Department of Sociology, via a press release.

Besides giving individuals the benefit of the doubt during most times, those who trusted others also showed better health and happiness overall.

"People who trust others seem to report better health and greater happiness. The study of social trust therefore has wider implications in public health, governmental policy and private charity, and there are good reasons to think that governments, religious groups and other civic organizations should try to cultivate more trust in society. Social trust has become an increasingly important topic for academics, who want to understand the causes of better health and greater happiness within society," added researcher Professor Francesco Billari, also from the Department of Sociology, via the release.

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More information regarding the study can be found via the journal PLOS ONE. 

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