Trust is something that can be difficult to give to others. It must be carefully cultivated and protected. But what is behind someone’s ability to trust? New research has found that survey participants that showed high intelligence levels were also more likely to trust others. The research, lead by sociologist Noah Carl of the University of Oxford, used General Social Survey data to compare participant’s intelligence measures with their behaviors and social attitudes.
The researchers found that participants who scored highly on measures of intelligence were more likely to trust others, compared with those who had low scores on intelligence levels. This finding remained even after the team accounted for the participants’ socioeconomic characteristics, including marital status, education, and income.
The researchers say this may be because smarter individuals are better judges of character. They may be better at finding and developing relationships with people who are worthy of their trust and less likely to betray it. The investigators also point to past research linking trust with increased health and happiness and call for future research to be directed at how trust could lead to greater well-being.