People more likely to trust if they tolerate ambiguity

People more likely to trust if they tolerate ambiguity

New research published in Nature Communications indicates that individuals who are tolerant of ambiguity — a kind of uncertainty in which the odds of an outcome are unknown — are more likely to cooperate with and trust other people.

Tolerance of ambiguity is distinct from tolerance of risk. With risk, the probability of each future outcome is known, said Oriel FeldmanHall, author of the study and an assistant professor of cognitive, linguistic and psychological sciences at Brown University. The many unknowns inherent in social situations make them inherently ambiguous, and the study finds that attitudes toward ambiguity are a predictor of one’s willingness to engage in potentially costly social behavior.

“If we consider how we go about navigating through our social worlds, we constantly need to figure out what other people are feeling and thinking,” FeldmanHall said. “Even if someone tells us they are angry, they may not be telling us how angry they really are, or why they might be angry in the first place. In other words, we try to predict other people without ever having full access to their ‘hidden’ states.”

Source: People more likely to trust, cooperate if they can tolerate ambiguity, study finds


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