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Credulity vs. Credulous — What's the Difference?

By Fiza Rafique & Urooj Arif — Updated on April 27, 2024
Credulity is the tendency or willingness to believe too readily, often without adequate evidence; credulous describes someone who has this tendency.
Credulity vs. Credulous — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Credulity and Credulous


Key Differences

Credulity refers to a general trait or quality of being too ready to believe things, often to the point of gullibility. Credulous, on the other hand, is an adjective used to describe a person or mindset that embodies this trait, indicating a lack of skepticism or critical judgment.
While credulity is a noun that denotes the capability or susceptibility to believe too easily, often leading to deception, credulous is used to characterize individuals or their actions that exhibit this undue readiness to accept things as true, such as in statements or dubious information.
Credulity implies a broader concept of belief without questioning the veracity of information or sources, applicable in a wide range of contexts from personal to societal. Whereas credulous specifically identifies the individuals or their behavior within those contexts, highlighting personal responsibility in discernment.
In discussions of scams or misinformation, credulity is often cited as a societal issue that needs addressing to prevent exploitation. On the other hand, credulous people are frequently targeted by those looking to exploit this trait, emphasizing the personal consequences of such a disposition.
Credulity can be seen as a cultural or psychological phenomenon affecting groups of people, making them vulnerable to myths or false narratives. While credulous individuals are examples of how such phenomena manifest on an individual level, affecting decisions and interactions.

Comparison Chart


The tendency to believe too readily.
Describing someone with that tendency.

Usage Context

Used to discuss traits in a broader, conceptual sense.
Used to describe specific individuals or behaviors.


A society's credulity can be manipulated during crises.
A credulous person might easily fall for scams.


Discusses the susceptibility of groups.
Focuses on individual susceptibility.


Generally negative, implies gullibility.
Negative, implies lack of critical thinking in a person.

Compare with Definitions


A tendency or readiness to believe that something is real or true.
His natural credulity made him vulnerable to fraud.


Sometimes associated with naivety or innocence.
The young, credulous boy gave his savings to the persuasive stranger.


Reflects a general state of being easily convinced.
The credulity of the audience surprised the skeptics.


Descriptive of personal disposition in belief.
He was too credulous to question the clearly exaggerated story.


Often leads to accepting statements without sufficient evidence.
Credulity in ancient medical practices often led to harmful treatments.


Ready to believe things too quickly and easily.
The credulous investor trusted the fraudulent broker completely.


Seen as a psychological trait that varies among individuals.
High levels of credulity may correlate with less education.


Often targeted by deceivers or manipulators.
Con artists frequently prey on credulous individuals.


Credulity is a person's willingness or ability to believe that a statement is true, especially on minimal or uncertain evidence. Credulity is not necessarily a belief in something that may be false: the subject of the belief may even be correct, but a credulous person will believe it without good evidence.


Showing a lack of judgment or critical thinking.
Her credulous nature led her to believe all the rumors.


A tendency to be too ready to believe that something is real or true
Moneylenders prey upon their credulity and inexperience


Having or showing too great a readiness to believe things
A ceremony staged for credulous tourists


A disposition to believe too readily.


Disposed to believe too readily; gullible.


A willingness to believe in someone or something in the absence of reasonable proof; credulousness.


Arising from or characterized by credulity. See Usage Note at credible.


Faith, credence; acceptance or maintenance of a belief.


Excessively ready to believe things; gullible.


Readiness of belief; a disposition to believe on slight evidence.
That implict credulity is the mark of a feeble mind will not be disputed.


Believed too readily.


Tendency to believe readily


Apt to believe on slight evidence; easily imposed upon; unsuspecting.
Eve, our credulous mother.


Can be exploited in misinformation campaigns.
Public credulity is a significant challenge in combating fake news.


Believed too readily.


Disposed to believe on little evidence;
The gimmick would convince none but the most credulous


Showing a lack of judgment or experience;
So credulous he believes everything he reads

Common Curiosities

Is credulity common in children?

Yes, children are often more credulous due to their limited experience and knowledge, which is why they need guidance in developing critical thinking skills.

Can credulity be a positive trait?

While generally considered negative, in some contexts, credulity might foster trust and cooperation, though it is typically important to balance trust with skepticism.

Are there psychological tests to measure a person's credulity?

There are psychological assessments that can evaluate traits related to credulity, such as trustfulness and susceptibility to persuasion, though these tests must be administered by professionals in a controlled setting to ensure accuracy.

Is there a biological basis for credulity?

Research suggests there may be a biological component to how trusting or skeptical individuals are, possibly linked to genetics and brain chemistry, though environment and upbringing also play significant roles.

How does being credulous affect a person?

Being credulous can make a person more susceptible to deception and fraud, as they may not critically evaluate the information.

How can education impact a person's level of credulity?

Education can significantly reduce a person's credulity by equipping them with critical thinking skills, exposure to diverse viewpoints, and the ability to evaluate evidence, thereby fostering a more questioning and skeptical approach to information.

Can a society's level of credulity change over time?

Yes, a society's level of credulity can change due to various factors, including changes in educational standards, cultural shifts, historical events, and the influence of media, all of which can alter how readily its members accept information without skepticism.

What is the meaning of credulity?

Credulity means a tendency to believe things too easily without adequate evidence.

How can one reduce their credulity?

Reducing credulity involves developing critical thinking skills, questioning information, and seeking evidence before accepting claims.

How do marketers take advantage of consumer credulity?

Marketers might exploit consumer credulity by using persuasive techniques, emotional appeals, and misleading claims to sell products or services, often emphasizing benefits while minimizing potential drawbacks.

What are examples of situations where being credulous is particularly risky?

Situations involving financial transactions, health treatments, and sharing personal information are especially risky for credulous individuals.

What's the difference between being credulous and gullible?

Being credulous involves a tendency to believe things too easily, often based on insufficient information, while being gullible implies an even greater ease of being deceived or manipulated, often due to naivety or lack of worldly experience.

What role does culture play in shaping an individual's credulity?

Culture significantly influences credulity, as it shapes values, norms, and the emphasis placed on skepticism or trust. Cultures that value authority and tradition may encourage more credulity, while those that promote questioning and empirical evidence may foster skepticism.

Why is it important to understand credulity in the context of social media?

Understanding credulity is crucial in social media contexts because these platforms often spread information rapidly, and a high level of credulity can lead to the widespread acceptance of misinformation or fake news, impacting public opinion and behavior.

How can one protect themselves from the negative consequences of being too credulous?

Protecting oneself involves actively developing skepticism, seeking out multiple sources of information, engaging in fact-checking, and consulting with knowledgeable individuals before making decisions based on the information received.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Urooj Arif
Urooj is a skilled content writer at Ask Difference, known for her exceptional ability to simplify complex topics into engaging and informative content. With a passion for research and a flair for clear, concise writing, she consistently delivers articles that resonate with our diverse audience.

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