Do the math—why some people are jerks yet others are even nice to strangers

January 12, 2016 by Bill Hathaway, Yale University
Do the math—why some people are jerks yet others are even nice to strangers

Why are some people always jerks? Yale University psychologists have developed a mathematical model that provides an answer, and also helps to explain why the rest of us are usually nice, even to strangers.

The model developed by Yale's Adam Bear and David Rand incorporates ideas from the evolutionary game theory of cooperation and the of intuition and deliberation. Participants play games where they can be either helpful or selfish, and make choices using rules of thumb or careful reasoning. Some games have no chance of a future payoff for being nice; other games allow for the possibility of reciprocation.

This is what the model predicts will happen: People who come from a supportive and friendly environment learn intuitively to cooperate—even with where there is no potential payoff—because they have often benefited from such generous behavior. However, if they take time to deliberate, they overrule their cooperative instinct if they realize there is no possibility of future payoff.

People who are typically surrounded by jerks, on the other hand, learn intuitively to be selfish—and also learn not to deliberate. So, the shows, they wind up acting selfishly even when cooperating would actually pay off, because they don't stop to think.

Explore further: Research suggests good rules can instill 'habits of virtue'

More information: Adam Bear et al. Intuition, deliberation, and the evolution of cooperation, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2016). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1517780113

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4.9 / 5 (12) Jan 12, 2016
...because they don't stop to think.

There you have the root of all problems in the world (large and small) in a nutshell.
5 / 5 (4) Jan 12, 2016
Yeah that pretty much sums up this article.
not rated yet Jan 12, 2016
This explains my old roommate and ex-girlfriend to a T
4.8 / 5 (4) Jan 12, 2016
Alternatively, people that grow up in an altruistic environment never learn proper defense against human nature and have to learn the hard way that their own interests are paramount.
1.7 / 5 (6) Jan 12, 2016
We see it here: Envy, maladjustment, nasty language, all from those with no character.
2 / 5 (6) Jan 12, 2016
This is simpletonian. The effects can also be the reverse. Many abused people do not turn to psychopaths or killers, but go the other way, and suffer from extreme empathy.
Uncle Ira
3.2 / 5 (6) Jan 12, 2016
We see it here: Envy, maladjustment, nasty language, all from those with no character.

Cher you sure got that right. Just use the page clicker on glam-Skippy's karma score page to get back to his beginning. Follow him from day one and postum one to see how maladjusted some peoples here are.

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