Trust

Unscientific elements of trust trivia

Everything you always wanted to know about trust but never dared to ask

Imagine that trust was the object of scientific studies. It would display characteristics that are not always obvious to the naked eye. As one of the most complex aspect of human interactions, it may require a multi-disciplinary approach to uncover its many facets.

From the perspective of a chemist, trust is one of those elements that are ubiquitous in our surroundings. Its place on the periodic table could be among the rare earth family. Indeed, it is distinguished it for its scarcity, as it is not found in high concentrations, even though it is distributed widely around many parts of the globe.

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Theologians would agree with chemists that there is an all pervasive spiritual dimension to trust — it has that ethereal characteristic. Perhaps, trust is one of the many expressions of what Christian theologians would refer to as the holy spirit, arguably omnipresent in our daily dealings. But that’s a question of belief. Just like religion, trust requires a certain level of faith in others to be present.

Despite the apparent robustness of trust as described by theologians, material scientists may point out that trust is prone to be brittle, like graphite. However, in some cases, where its components are aligned in an orderly manner, Trust can be as hard as diamond.

Quantum physicists would argue, however, that would make it so difficult to pin trust down. It can be neither here, not there. And every time someone tries to measure the level of trust around, it never yields the same results. The probability of findings trust is never absolute. But it is higher in confined environments.

Luckily, population ecologists would come to the rescue of physicists with their views. They would see trust as emerging from growing colony of individuals. All that is required is that they share a joint sense of purpose or have a shared interest in the overall survival of its own species.


Going one step deeper, geneticists would attribute the very essence of trust lies to a series of up and down-regulated genes that interact together in a carefully orchestrated manner in humans. They may also find that in some it is attributed to recessive genes, which may explain why it is not necessarily expressed in all members of the general population.

To truly understand how trust fits in society, we cannot ignore the unprecedented insights provided by Big Data analysts focusing on complex human interactions. Their interpretation of trust will be counter-intuitive. They will find that the ability to forget trusting relationship is only dependent on the individual, not on the nature of their social network.

Finally, evolutionists would have it that those who are unable to operate on the basis of trust are doomed to be the last of their generation.

Now, we leave EuroScientist readers with all this food for thought to reflect of the nature of trust in their own experience. Feel free to use the comment box below to share your views on trust from the perspective of your own scientific discipline.

What description of Trust would you suggest, based on your own scientific discipline?

Your thoughts and opinions are valuable, feel free to use our simple comment section below.

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Go back to the Special Issue: Trust

Sabine Louët

Sabine Louët

Former editor at EuroScientist
Sabine has a passion for all things related to European research. A physicist by training, she has been covering stories in life science, the physical sciences, technology, policy and innovation for the past 20 years. She was previously the news editor at Nature Biotechnology. She was also involved in the creation of AlphaGalileo. She is the Founder of SciencePOD translating complex science and tech concepts into high-quality articles written in simple language.
Sabine Louët

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