Trust me: trust is the key to good relationships
James Cook University researchers have discovered that trust – and similar attitudes about the world – are fundamental to good, lasting relationships.
Dr Smita Singh, senior lecturer in psychology at JCU’s Singapore campus, recently co-authored a paper on the subject in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.
She said the latest work throws new light on something that psychologists had long known. “We have recognised for a while that a stable relationship is based on attitude similarity – where people have the same views on important subjects such as religion, the environment, abortion or divorce, for instance.”
Dr Singh said attitude similarity has been shown to trump all other considerations, including physical attractiveness and intelligence. “Whether it’s a romantic relationship or a work or social relationship, if there is attitude similarity then it is more likely to be a long-lasting and happy. What we have done is try to answer why that should be.”
She said the researchers had discovered trust is the key ingredient that makes attitude similarity so powerful. “We found that trust has a key role in translating attitude similarity into attraction. There are no significant differences in gender and so far it doesn’t seem to matter if we are looking at interactions between people of the same sex.”
Dr Singh said that despite much literature on attitude similarity and attraction, trust had never before been examined as a fundamental reason why shared attitudes would lead to liking of a potential acquaintance.
She said although the current study had not examined it, psychologists would agree that the attitude similarity effect was due to evolutionary traits, with people of similar attitudes less likely to be in competition and conflict and more likely to co-operate and survive.
Contact: Dr Smita Singh
(Please note, Dr Singh works on JCU’s Singapore campus – minus 2 hours AEDT).
P: +65 6709 3737
Link to pic and paper: bit.ly/1K8U6Hk