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The Relationship Between Trust and IQ
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Last month Steve Sailer wrote:

Higher IQ people probably tend to be more trusting — high IQ environments tend to be more honest and cooperative.

Stepping away from the presidential election for a moment, allow me to do what the tagline advertises and validate Steve’s stereotype.

The GSS routinely asks respondents whether they feel as though most people are trustworthy or not. The following table shows the percentages of people, grouped by intelligence*, who say that “generally speaking, most people can be trusted”. For contemporary relevance, to avoid linguistic problems, and to avoid racial confounding, responses are from 2000 onward and restricted to non-Hispanic whites who were born in the US (n = 2,458):

IQ Trusting
Really Smarts 61.7%
Pretty Smarts 44.2%
Normals 34.0%
Pretty Dumbs 22.3%
Real Dumbs 17.2%

People of modest intelligence are correspondingly more likely to assume that someone or something is intentionally taking advantage of them when the evidence is unclear or ambiguous.

Stepping back to the election, this presumably goes some way in explaining Trump’s working-class appeal and the allergic reaction many upper-middle class cuckservatives have to him. Foolishly trusting people and institutions unworthy of trust is one of cuckservatism’s defining characteristics.

It’s also why the FBI investigation redux, in concert with Project Veritas’ videos and the steady stream of WikiLeaks’ revelations is potentially lethal to the harridan from hell. It’s pushing the most inherently trusting, Midwestern-nice Flanderesses to the breaking point. Each of these Clinton scandals that keep piling one on top of another are, individually, much worse than the Watergate scandal that brought down the Nixon administration was. It’s getting more and more difficult, even in the lard-filled crevices of Erick Erickson’s corpulent mind, to imagine how Trump could be worse than Hillary.

As the West becomes less European, it becomes less trusting. The instinctively high levels of trust intelligent people have is a feature in a society where people and institutions tend to be trustworthy. Such societies are becoming increasingly rare, however, and it will in large part be up to the Joe-bag-of-donuts to save clever sillies from themselves before current demographic trends become irreversible and the Occident gets swallowed up by the tides of darkness forever.

GSS variables used: TRUST(1-2), YEAR(2000-2014), RACECEN1(1), BORN(1), WORDSUM(0-3)(4-5)(6)(7-8)(9-10)

* Respondents are broken up into five categories that roughly forms a normal distribution; Really Smarts (wordsum score of 9-10, comprising 13% of the population), Pretty Smarts (7-8, 26%), Normals (6, 22%), Pretty Dumbs (4-5, 27%), and Real Dumbs (0-3, 12%).

(Republished from The Audacious Epigone by permission of author or representative)
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  1. We tend to associate with people of similar intelligence.

    Lower IQ folks break more laws.

    Therefore they have an accurate appraisal of the trustworthiness of their cohort.

  2. Langley,

    Good point, thanks.

  3. IQ and trust is an interesting topic. Some random observations:

    1) Progressives tend to be highly trustful of collective institutions (government, international bodies, the courts) and highly distrustful of individuals. Since self-described Progressives are slightly above average in IQ, this would seem to counter the data.

    2) Males are higher IQ than females, but are naturally less trustful of other people, male or female.

    3) Stupid people are easily fooled which is why furniture rental shops exist near ghettos. At the same time, they are much more inclined to trust collective institutions over individuals.

    4) I would agree with the statement "generally speaking, most people can be trusted" but finish it with "to be what nature has made them to be." That does not mean I will leave my wallet on the counter while I use the lavatory.

  4. "even in the lard-filled crevices of Erick Erickson's corpulent mind"

    Have you considered moving into writing as a career? Yours is a special gift which should not be hidden from the world!

  5. I was going to make a similar point. There has been major cognitive sorting since the 1960s and if smart people are more honest then it is natural for smarts to be more trusting, and dullards to be less trusting.

    However, there has been a major decline in people trusting the government over the past few generations. In the 1960's some 70 percent of Americans trusted the government to do the right thing, today it is something like 19 percent. This illustrates the extreme bifurcation between the elites and the masses.

    Tocqueville referred to this as an "absenteeism of spirit" when describing the French nobility right before the Revolution. The French nobility had gradually left the countryside throughout the 18th Century, and they no longer had any dealing with the Third Estate.

  6. Z,

    The GSS shows men as more trusting than women.

    Some thoughts in confirmation: Men are able to pick up right where they left off with other men even after they haven't seen them for years. Women can't do that. Time apart always decreases trust/closeness in women. Men build larger organizations. Women are more worried about stranger danger, etc.

    Institutions are just groups of individuals. Do these things move in opposite directions? It seems like even though our collective trust in government has declined steadily over the last several decades, we expect government to take care of more and more.

    4) is especially brilliant. I envy your writing ability.


    His smug self-righteousness gets my goat.


    Right, and it's not just government–its other large organizations like the Catholic church, media, etc. Trust everywhere is declining per Robert Putnam and the openness that the internet provides. Dumbing down the population through electing a new people has to accentuate the trust problem.

  7. You can't talk about trust and IQ without talking about the WEIRDO-clannish element.

    It's also worth noting that trust has low heritability. This suggest trust measurements are not valid (as far as I know, there is no evidence that self-reported trust predicts anything in the real world).

    I suspect that there in fact little to no correlation with IQ and trust once you subtract WEIRDness.

  8. @Z blog:

    "2) Males are higher IQ than females"

    There's little by way of solid evidence for that, that I know about.

  9. Jayman,

    Though the relationship between self-reported ethnicity and actual ancestry isn't perfect (to say the least) and is subject to fashionable trends, I'll take a look at TRUST and ethnicity anyway to see if we get anything along the lines of higher levels of English/German trust and lower levels of Italian/Irish trust.

  10. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    "Each of these Clinton scandals that keep piling one on top of another are, individually, much worse than the Watergate scandal that brought down the Nixon administration was. It's getting more and more difficult, even in the lard-filled crevices of Erick Erickson's corpulent mind, to imagine how Trump could be worse than Hillary."

    But Nixon had the Washington Post's owners and workers passionately against him. Again, that was a race-based fight.

    Trump can be worse than Hillary for every ethnic group that sees gains for them in the slumber of this country's ethnic majority and seeks to keep bullying it with affirmative discrimin(aCtion), bailouts, and so on (all legal, of course, once you get to be the ones who establish what laws say — I mean you control the Supreme Court and a lot of other organs of the state, agencies, …).
    They are all fighting Trump, each with their intelligence and the other resources their intelligence makes them have at their disposal, all armed with shameless lies.
    Shame only harms who has it, in racial conflict (and in life, generally).

    Whites are the only body of society unaware of what is going on, and the only ones not acting normally (see what Singapore's dictator said on voting by race: the Chinese will vote the Chinese, the Malaysian Malayisians, and so on…).
    They are going to be bullied, and economic givers to the other groups, as soon as they keep dozing.

    And while you talk of a pile of Watergate scandals, Comey has, very timely, reassured has that there's nothing of note.

  11. It's maybe a false positive of intelligent people via IQ having intelligent attitudes. Intelligent attitudes in this case seems obvious: Don't trust too much. Other possibility is that people with higher income/generally higher IQ tend to be many "friend$" + natural naivety tend to make them more gullible or leaning-'autistic' with people. Generally people with higher IQ are beneficiary because their achievements and social/intellectual status and make them more popular at least among their relatives.

  12. That classical case

    When you are rich many people become your friend$.

    When you become poor most of your friend$ disappear.

    Seems the phenomenon of fake friendships tend to be even higher/intense among people in the upper classes or with some intellectual status. The toxic positivity. As most people are illiterate in interpersonal precision or have poor developed but functional long term theory of mind they can be easily deceived by the appearance of their social lives and confuse it with the behind reality.

    Schoppenhauer trumps again.

    As most people are not intimate/quite familiar/knowledgeable one each other so they tend to poorly understand even their immediate families.

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