Study: Superfluous Apologizing Could Build Trust

Study: Superfluous Apologizing Could Build Trust

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Do you apologize even when you've done nothing wrong? Well, apparently that makes you more trustworthy!

In a recent study by the Harvard Business School and University of Pennsylvania, researchers found that apologizing for situations that you can't change, such as rain or travel delays makes people more likely to trust you.

In a series of experiments, people were more likely to help out and trust a stranger if the stranger apologized.

For example, in one study, people were more likely to lend a stranger a phone if the stranger apologized for an unrelated event beforehand!

In another experiment, students were paired up and played a game on a computer, but the computer would automatically override some decisions that the two students made. In cases when a student apologized for the computer's deeds, he was later rated more trustworthy by his partner.

The study's lead author says that these apologies represent easy-to-use tool for social influence.

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