In other words, your brain can instinctively trust people simply because they sound as if they know what they’re talking about.
Put another way, “Whom we trust is not only a reflection of who is trustworthy, but also a reflection of who we are,” researchers wrote in a 2011 study that examined how our unconscious biases affect which people we choose to trust.
We can also train ourselves to be more attentive to signs that we’re placing trust in someone just because we perceive them to be trustworthy or knowledgeable.
Most important: Learn to catch yourself and take a step back when you notice that you’re going along with people who only feel authoritative – either because they project confidence or dominate the conversation – and ask yourself whether they truly are trustworthy.
Do they have the credentials to back up their claims? Do they talk their way around specific questions rather than address them head-on? If you catch yourself gravitating toward someone extroverted and loud, then seek another opinion.)
Two other sound strategies are. First, relentlessly seek outside input – oftentimes that can be as simple as asking a friend, “Is my trust misplaced here?” Second, never stop learning, because the more knowledgeable you are about something, the more likely you are to know when someone’s faking it.
These biases are just part of life. But being aware of them can mean you’re able to find paths around them.