Often times, a person who is overly trusting will find that people take advantage of him easily. In fact, I’ve had a little experience on this myself. I trusted people way too easily – my “friends”, my girlfriend, and even some people that I’ve worked with who were only after their own benefit. Being too trusting often means association with being naïve. However, even some of the smartest people fall sucker to deception and betrayal as well.
Despite this, it seems that science has come forth with statements claiming that smarter people generally trust others more easily. It seems that according to some surveys conducted a while ago, that societies that are more trusting of each other have a generally lower crime rate. This is also linked with the fact that generally trusting more on society has shown overall better self-reported health and happiness.
Back to trust and smart people, though – a study from the University of Oxford analyzed some data from surveys concerning the US public opinion, and the question “Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted or that you can’t be too careful when dealing with people?”. To this, the analysis of the data showed that people who answered that most people can be trusted, generally had a higher overall IQ.
However, it wasn’t just the IQ test. Higher score brackets of vocabulary and comprehension tests showed more people easily being easily trusting. On the other hand, those who scored lower seemed to be under the belief that everyone else is out to get them.
The researchers conclude that this makes sense, though. Intelligence often means higher interpersonal skills and the ability to discern whether people can be trustworthy or not based on certain characteristics. This quality, according to the researchers, takes a large role in human intelligence and in natural selection.
Then again, this doesn’t work the other way around. Simply being more trusting to other people doesn’t mean you’re a smart person. That might actually be unwise. If you aren’t smart enough, you might not be capable enough to tell whether the person you’re putting your trust on is doing it for his personal gain or for yours.
Despite this, let’s love our community, and start trusting everyone. Maybe then, we can all live in happiness and prosperity, even if we are all dumb idiots.