Violence Hurts Trust
Exposure to violence does not
change the ability to learn as to who is likely to do harm, but it does damage
the ability to place trust in ‘good people’, psychologists at Yale and
University of Oxford reported in the journal Nature Communications. Exposure to violence is related to negative
life outcomes, from increased health and mental health problems to greater
engagement in violent behaviour.
The team found that participants with higher exposure to violence effectively learned that the good stranger made fewer harmful choices than the bad stranger. However, when deciding whom to trust, they trusted the good stranger less than participants who had a lower exposure to violence.
In other words, exposure to violence disrupted the ability to place trust in the 'right' person. It changes the way people use information to decide who to befriend versus avoid. Consequently, certain individuals become vulnerable to continually developing problematic social connections that limit their chances for psychosocial and economic stability.