Solution How To Determine If Someone Is Truly Trustworthy – Unusual Study Explains

How do you know if someone you meet is truly trustworthy? Do you rely on your intuition, a person’s body language, the look in the eyes, or the spoken words?

You may get the impression you can trust this individual, but can you?

An unusual study has just revealed there is only one way to find out if someone is truly trustworthy. Scientists provide practical advice for deciding in whom we should place trust.

Let’s find out what researchers say!

Solution How To Determine If Someone Is Truly Trustworthy – Unusual Study Explains

In a study recently published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Asst. Prof. Emma Levine and co-authors from the University of Pennsylvania and Carnegie Mellon University identify a trait predictor of trustworthy intentions and behavior.

Based on a series of psychological experiments, researchers have identified personality traits that predict trustworthiness, and the results are rather surprising.
Guilt-Proneness Determines How Trustworthy Someone Is

The results of the study reveal that guilt-proneness predicts trustworthiness better than a variety of other personality measure. So, what exactly is guilt-proneness and how can we detect this trait?

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Guilt-proneness is not the same as guilt. “Whereas guilt elicits reparative behavior following a transgression, guilt-proneness reflects the anticipation of guilt over wrongdoing and causes people to avoid transgressing in the first place. People who rank high in guilt-proneness feel a greater sense of interpersonal responsibility when they are entrusted, and as such, are less likely to exploit the trust others place in them,” researchers wrote in their press release.

To measure trustworthy behavior and intentions, scientists let participants play economic games and take surveys. For 4500 years, human life was controlled and even manipulated by money. Money has a way of changing people, for the better or worse. The study is unusual because unlike existing trust research, which focuses on what makes people trust each other, this time scientists attempt to gain a better understanding of who is worthy of that trust.

Results showed that those who scored high in the personality trait of guilt-proneness returned more money to others than individuals who scored low in guilt-proneness.

Furthermore, in one experiment, individuals who were primed to behave responsibly as a result of reading a code of conduct were more likely to return money to others than the individuals who read a passage about the importance of looking out for themselves.

Solution How To Determine If Someone Is Truly Trustworthy – Unusual Study Explains

“Trust and trustworthiness are critical for effective relationships and effective organizations. Individuals and institutions incur high costs when trust is misplaced, but people can mitigate these costs by engaging in relationships with individuals who are trustworthy,” the researchers wrote.

Scientists’ advice in clear and simple – when deciding in whom to place trust, trust the guilt-prone!

“Our research suggests that if you want your employees to be worthy of trust,” Professor Levine said, “make sure they feel personally responsible for their behavior and that they expect to feel guilty about wrongdoing.”

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