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The Preconditions for Mutual Trust

About the importance of mutual trust in both personal and business relationships and the effects of losing trust. The animated video is inspired by an experiment discussed in the lecture "Biology of Human Behavior" of Robert Sapolsky at Stanford University, the renowned Professor of Biology, Neurology and Neurosurgery.



What is trust, and why do we need it in our society? Trust is not just a notion, but a vital part of relations between individuals and each nucleus of society around the globe. With no trust, there is no progress in both personal and professional relations. The importance of trust is therefore not questionable but how can one build trust or what are the ways of building trust? It is impossible to build trust just by asking for it. Mutual trust is a result of painstaking work on both sides, and it may also bring to mutual dependence. By trusting and supporting each other, we conduce to development, be it the development of a relationship, personal or professional growth. At the same time, trust is extremely fragile, and once it is questioned, the process of losing trust is irreversible.To understand the role and importance of trust, let’s discuss a very specific case that has nothing to do with human relationship yet it perfectly reflects the importance of mutual trust in society. The animated video is inspired by an experiment, discussed in the lecture "Biology of Human Behavior" of Robert Sapolsky at Stanford University, the renowned Professor of Biology, Neurology and Neurosurgery. The experiment addresses the importance of mutual trust in both personal and business relationships and the results of losing trust.
The hero of the experiment is the vampire bat that feeds on blood. To feed pups, mother bats pump up the throat sac with blood and return to the nest with a food-filled, swollen sac. In this blood vampire commune, mother bats feed both their own and others' pups. By sharing the same nest and feeding the pups, they are convinced that other mother bats will not leave their children hungry. Their community and lifestyle are based on trust and reciprocal altruism.

To understand the importance of mutual trust in the vampire bat community, scientists conducted the following experiment. They took a mother bat and injected air into the throat sac, thus creating the impression that it was filled with blood. The bat returns to its nest with a full sac but does not feed the hungry pups. The bats are confused about the situation. Not knowing the truth about the empty sac filled with air instead of blood, the other mother bats lose confidence in her. As a punishment, they stop feeding her cub.

This strategy is often used in human relationships as well. One of the most important factors at the heart of both business and personal relationships is trust. In the absence of confidence, you have to be more alert. When leading a team, it is important to regularly check and monitor the quality of the assignments. The one who lacks confidence in a team generally loses motivation and efficiency. Therefore, trust reduces unnecessary costs and troubles, and at the same time, it increases efficiency and speed.

The most important premises for confidence-building are reliability, mutual help and predictability.