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The Big Idea for Friday, December 27, 2013

Trust is a great summary measure of a society in which things are working well. Lack of trust, on the other hand, is a measure of how things do not work well in society. 

Why is this the case? Neuroeconomics studies have shown that when someone trusts you, your brain releases oxytocin. When the brain does that, you reciprocate.  So when we’re shown trust, our brains motivate us to be trustworthy. Therefore, countries in which trust is high have effective governments, they have very tight social structures, people interact very well with each other, and there’s a positive feedback loop. 

In today's lesson, Temple University Professor Judith Levine explores how trust has been eroded among low income people - particularly single mothers - in the United States. "We are talking about people who are so economically insecure," Levine says, "that if something goes wrong, they fall into a desperate situation." Therefore, the stakes of making a bad trust decision are very high. 

So how can we close the trust deficit? Breakthroughs can be made - whether in business or the culture at large, by giving away trust. 




  1. 1 Why Low Income Equals Low Trust
    Big Think Editors Specific Gravity
  2. 2 Why Trust (Or Lack of It) Can Mean Poverty or Prosperity
    Paul Zak
  3. 3 The Value of Creating Trust
    Dov Seidman
  4. 4 Trust and Revenge Are Irrational—But Vital to Our Society
    Dan Ariely


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