UCL School of Management

24 August 2023

Chia-Jung Tsay's research on the cost of naive cynicism features in Le Monde

Trust or trap? UCL School of Management Associate Professor Chia-Jung Tsay’s thought-provoking research is now in the spotlight in a recent article by Le Monde entitled, “The Naive Cynicism: When Distrust is a Poor Advisor.” The article explores the concept of naive cynicism, an inherent inclination to mistrust others even without substantial grounds, and how this tendency shapes our perceptions and actions.

Naive cynicism can be observed when we automatically opt to distrust others, even when the situation might not warrant it. The article explores how this cautious and suspicious mindset can lead to missed opportunities and strained relationships.

It also highlights a noteworthy experiment illustrating how our brains are inherently wired to be on guard against scams and deception, potentially causing an excessive sense of suspicion even when there is no genuine threat.

Chia-Jung Tsay sheds light on the potential roots of this tendency, suggesting that past experiences and the fear of being taken advantage of might underlie our inclination toward distrust.

In essence, Le Monde thoroughly examines the reasons behind our often skeptical and cautious attitudes and their impact on our choices and interactions. It emphasises the importance of striking a balance between trust and skepticism to ensure that we don’t miss out on positive experiences.

Read the full Le Monde article (subscription required).

Last updated Thursday, 24 August 2023