Study shows why stingy people are untrustworthy

first_imgThere may be a new link between generosity and trustworthiness according to new research conducted by Oxford University.The research looked into the signals we rely on to decide who is trustworthy, with findings showing that we tend to distrust those who are stingy with their money. The study claimed that stingy people were also more likely to lie about their generosity to present themselves in a better light.The researchers set up an experiment in which participants played interactive games in which they had to decide who to trust, based on information about the generosity of other players in previous games.Researcher Dr. Wojtek Przepiorka, from the Department of Sociology at the university, said, “When acts of generosity occur naturally with no concern for how they are perceived by others, they can be effective signals of trustworthiness. Charity balls are places where people can openly display their generosity, but in this case because people know they are going to be observed, this might be a strategic gesture and less telling of their true character.“We regard acts of genuine generosity as those produced spontaneously and these are widely seen as a reliable indicator of trustworthiness, even when they are small gestures.”Professor Diego Gambetta, an Official Fellow at Nuffield College commented, “Our experiments showed that cheating comes in clusters- a large portion of people who were mean were also prepared to lie about it, and those who lied were much more untrustworthy, as if one sin promotes another. It appears that people widely regard generosity and trustworthiness as being “cut from the same cloth” as far as human characteristics are concerned.“However, some people display generosity when it is likely to be in their own advantage. In our experiments, we also find that those who are guilty of ‘strategic’ displays of generosity themselves are more likely to spot strategic generosity in others.”One first year student from New College noted, “This is interesting research, though I’m not too sure how applicable it is in real life.”Another said, “I am slightly concerned that this study has jumped to conclusions too quickly. There could be other factors that the study has failed to consider.”last_img

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