OXFORD, U.K. (CBS) – Smarter people are more likely to trust others, new research shows.

The study, out of Oxford University and published in the journal Plos One, revealed that those who score low on intelligence tests were also less likely to trust others, while more intelligent people were more trusting of others.

That could be because more intelligent individuals are better at gauging character and may spend more time building relationships with people they can trust, or simply that smarter people are better at weighing situations and assessing whether or not there is strong incentive for another person not to hold up his or her end of a bargain.

“Intelligence is shown to be linked with trusting others, even after taking into account factors like marital status, education and income. This finding supports what other researchers have argued, namely that being a good judge of character is a distinct part of human intelligence which evolved through natural selection. However, there are other possible interpretations of the evidence, and further research is needed to disentangle them,” said lead author Noah Carl, of Oxford’s department of sociology.

Researchers based their conclusions on a public opinion survey called the General Social Survey that’s given in the U.S. every few years. They say the study could have far-reaching implications for public welfare, as social trust contributes to the success of important social institutions, such as welfare systems and financial markets.

To read more on the study, click here.

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