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Jul 31 2016
by Madeleine Williamson

Science Explains Why People Don’t Trust Hillary Clinton

By Madeleine Williamson - Jul 31 2016

Ever wonder why Hillary Clinton’s opponents don’t trust her? And why Donald Trump’s supporters trust him? Two Yale psychologists think they have the answer. In a Wednesday Huffington Post article, they connect new research to perceptions of the candidates.

Jillian Jordan and David Rand of Yale’s Human Cooperation Laboratory found that people trust those who act without much forethought. In a recent study, they conducted a “helping game” and a “trusting game.” In the helping game, subjects chose whether to give each other money. They also chose whether to learn how much money they would have to give, or to remain in the dark. In the trust game, subjects again chose whether to help each other. This time, they had knowledge of each other’s actions in the helping game. Jordan and Rand found that people trusted those who didn’t look to see how much money they would give.

“Being seen as uncalculating can make people trust you,” they said.

Polls show that people see Trump as spontaneous and uncalculating. They see Hillary Clinton as “careful and calculating.” “Individuals who calculate seem liable to sell out,” Jordan and Rand wrote. Uncalculated choices and candor are part of Trump’s public persona. People make uncalculated choices to show their trustworthiness.

But negative actions weren’t viewed well in the study, regardless of calculation. This explains why Trump doesn’t appeal to everyone: politics play as much of a role as psychology. Calculated or not, some people don’t like his choices. And, calculated or not, some people do like Hillary’s.

Lead Image Credit: neverbutterfly via Flickr Creative Commons

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Madeleine Williamson - DePaul University

Madeleine Williamson is a freshman at DePaul University majoring in journalism and minoring in political science and Spanish. She loves tea, stationery and exploring her new hometown of Chicago.

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