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Does intelligence foster interpersonal trust?: an empirical test using the UK birth cohort studies

Does intelligence foster interpersonal trust?: an empirical test using the UK birth cohort studies
Does intelligence foster interpersonal trust?: an empirical test using the UK birth cohort studies
Social, or ‘generalized’ trust is often characterised as the ‘attitudinal dimension’ of social capital. It has been posited as key to a host of normatively desirable outcomes at the societal and individual levels. Yet the origins of individual variation in trust remain something of a mystery and continue to be a source of dissensus amongst researchers across and within academic disciplines. In this paper we use data from two British birth cohort studies to test the hypothesis that a propensity to express generalized trust varies systematically as a function of individual intelligence. Intelligence, we argue, fosters greater trust in one's fellow citizens because more intelligent individuals are more accurate in their assessments of the trustworthiness of others. This means that, over the life-course, their trust is less often betrayed and they are able to accrue the benefits of norms of reciprocity. Our results show that standard measures of intelligence administered when cohort members were aged 10 and 11 can explain variability in expressed trust in early middle age, net of a broad range of theoretically related covariates.
intelligence, trust, cohort study, survey
45-54
Sturgis, Patrick
b9f6b40c-50d2-4117-805a-577b501d0b3c
Read, Sanna
a26ab020-4465-43bd-9631-7aea2b8f8d94
Allum, Nick
849dfc6c-00ce-4383-bb5c-4d67985f5576
Sturgis, Patrick
b9f6b40c-50d2-4117-805a-577b501d0b3c
Read, Sanna
a26ab020-4465-43bd-9631-7aea2b8f8d94
Allum, Nick
849dfc6c-00ce-4383-bb5c-4d67985f5576

Sturgis, Patrick, Read, Sanna and Allum, Nick (2010) Does intelligence foster interpersonal trust?: an empirical test using the UK birth cohort studies. Intelligence, 38 (1), 45-54. (doi:10.1016/j.intell.2009.11.006).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Social, or ‘generalized’ trust is often characterised as the ‘attitudinal dimension’ of social capital. It has been posited as key to a host of normatively desirable outcomes at the societal and individual levels. Yet the origins of individual variation in trust remain something of a mystery and continue to be a source of dissensus amongst researchers across and within academic disciplines. In this paper we use data from two British birth cohort studies to test the hypothesis that a propensity to express generalized trust varies systematically as a function of individual intelligence. Intelligence, we argue, fosters greater trust in one's fellow citizens because more intelligent individuals are more accurate in their assessments of the trustworthiness of others. This means that, over the life-course, their trust is less often betrayed and they are able to accrue the benefits of norms of reciprocity. Our results show that standard measures of intelligence administered when cohort members were aged 10 and 11 can explain variability in expressed trust in early middle age, net of a broad range of theoretically related covariates.

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Published date: January 2010
Keywords: intelligence, trust, cohort study, survey

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 80169
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/80169
PURE UUID: 7e595c90-17f9-4627-82c0-f35f511ef689
ORCID for Patrick Sturgis: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1180-3493

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Date deposited: 24 Mar 2010
Last modified: 15 Jan 2019 01:33

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