Log onto a Facebook page, click on the comments section, and count how many seconds it takes before you stumble upon a mean comment. Not very long, right?
People can be such assholes, and now, psychologists at Yale University have stumbled upon why some people are dicks and some people are very nice.
Adam Bear and David Rand developed a special study where participants played games that had two options, to be selfish or to be helpful. The payoff was sometimes higher depending on the game. In some games, it paid to cooperate. In others, it paid to be self-interested.
Their study was based off a model which “incorporates ideas from the evolutionary game theory of cooperation and the behavioral economics of intuition and deliberation.” Basically this means it looks at how we evolved to channel intuition and decide whether or not to work with people.
As it turns out, being an asshole has more to do with the people you’re surrounded by than anything else. It’s definitely nurture, not nature. People who came from supportive, friendly environments tended to be nicer. Those who came from colder environments, well, not so nice.
The big lesson to take away here is that, if someone’s a dick, chances are, the people in their lives are dicks too…
Maybe you should be nice to them.
Higher Perspectives Author is one of the authors writing for Higher Perspectives