Have you ever been lied to, cheated or conned, and never saw it coming? Did you kick yourself afterward and say, “Why was I so trusting?” There are 4 key psychological reasons why people trust too much.
1. The Trusting Bias. Because humans are a social species, we may be programmed to trust others (unless we have a specific reason to be suspicious). Research on deception shows that people will judge participants as more truthful than deceptive, even when they are told beforehand that the participants are lying half of the time. We simply expect that people are telling us the truth.
2. Belief in a Just World. Humans have a tendency to believe that the world is fair. We have an unfailing belief that things will work out in the end, and that suffering now will lead to rewards later. Let’s face facts: The world is not fair and bad things will happen to good people. But this causes us to trust that others will treat us fairly, and that is often not the case.
3. Cognitive Laziness. We take mental shortcuts. One that causes us to trust too much is neglecting to analyze what others are telling us. It takes less cognitive effort. That’s why we don’t carefully read contracts or properly investigate claims.