5 Dimensions Of Trustworthiness

By Peter Metzinger


With the increase of misinformation and downright disinformation campaigns in connection with COVID-19, 5G, climate change, vaccinations, etc., it is becoming increasingly important to take countermeasures.


But how can I gain the trust of people who call themselves critical? (Even though they share with their network unchecked any crap they find on YouTube, simply because the video looks like a classic news show or someone has a PhD).

The crucial word here is trust. How do I get these people to trust me?


In my campaigning model I distinguish between 5 dimensions of trust:


  1. Security

  2. Reliability

  3. Constance

  4. Integration

  5. Understanding


Giving security can mean that I am offering something in return that I would lose if I am wrong. Security is also given by a contract, by a certificate or other official attestation. But the problem with security is again the question of how far you can trust this security.


This is where the next dimension comes into play: reliability.


Does the person whose trust I want to gain know me as a reliable fellow human being? And if they have experienced my reliability, how often have they experienced it?


This is where the next dimension comes in: constancy.


Only someone who has experienced me as reliable over a longer period of time will believe me that I am basically reliable.

For me personally, this applies to the scientific methodology and community. For centuries, science has provided us with new insights into the universe in which we live and has thus created the basis for our prosperity. "To err is human", so there are bound to be one or two mistakes from time to time, but you can reliably rely on these mistakes being recognized and corrected. This has always been the case for centuries.


In this context, security is provided by the fact that researchers usually only have fixed-term employment contracts and their careers are terminated immediately if fraud is discovered. And these frauds always come out.


However, science usually lacks the following two dimensions: integration and understanding or comprehensibility.


It is not for nothing that we speak of the ivory tower of science. As a rule, research takes place behind closed doors and the public is excluded. Exceptions confirm the rules.


The same applies to science communication. The publication of research results is aimed at other researchers and is written in a technical language that no normal layperson can understand. So how can science expect to be trusted? This is where science journalism comes in. There are journalists and bloggers who know how to translate scientific language for laypeople. They too would lose their reputation and jobs very quickly if they published false information. So they too can be trusted in principle if they have consistently published reliably for a long time.


So if you don't want to go to the trouble of checking sources of information and doing time-consuming research yourself, you can at least rely on science communication or science journalism and should look there first before you believe the next hair-raising conspiracy myth. The same applies to fact checkers.


To come back to the initial question: if I want to convince someone of the correctness of my information, I have to consider these 5 dimensions. Happy campaigning!


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Are you facing an impossible mission in the fields of leadership, marketing, communications and/or politics?

Or are you currently struggling with the Corona crisis?

Then it is now the time to contact Mr. Campaigning. Since 1998 he has been supporting startups, global companies, organizations, and individuals. His clients range from "A" like ABB to "W" like the World Economic Forum in Davos.


Impossible is just a word for change.

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