When you think of someone who’s trusting, you may assume that they’re gullible. But that’s not necessarily true—a fact that your Pollyanna pal might be in a good position to point out. Because people who have faith in their fellow human beings are actually good at spotting lies. The finding is described in the journal Social Psychological & Personality Science. [Nancy Carter and J. Mark Weber, http://bit.ly/bOEFLN]
Researchers videotaped a cadre of second-year MBA students as they pretended to interview for a job. Half the interviewees were entirely truthful, and half told at least three whoppers, lies they thought would make them more attractive candidates for the fake job.
The scientists then showed these videos to a second set of subjects and asked them to rate the honesty of the interviewees and say which ones they’d hire. The results: subjects who said they think that most people are basically honest, good-natured, and kind were better at spotting the liars than the self-described cynics. Subjects who were more suspicious were, ironically, more likely to hire the liars and less likely to detect their fabrications.
So trust may lend itself to better interpersonal intuition. And if you don’t believe that, well, maybe you’re just not being honest with yourself.
[The above text is an exact transcript of this podcast.]