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    Use a Little Sense? Deliberation Turns Nice People Into Jerks - Study

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    Carefully considering your decisions can turn you into a mean person, if you are nice. But if you are already a nasty human being, it will make you no better, a new study by Yale professors claims.

    Deliberation makes people more selfish, but does not work in the reverse, psychologists Adam Bear and David Rand from Yale University wrote in a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    The scholars created a mathematical model using game theory concepts of cooperation and the behavioral economics of intuition. They tested a group of volunteers who made decisions using either the so-called rule of thumb, based on practice rather that science, or careful reasoning.

    The developed model of the study outlined that individuals from cooperative and helpful environments stop being nice when they begin calculating the possible outcomes of their actions.

    “The root of being nice is an intuitive desire to help people, not a cold, calculating understanding of morality,” Rand said.

    The realization that an altruistic deed may never provide benefit causes some people to think carefully before making a decision. Eventually people can suppress their inner inclination to be helpful, thus becoming more selfish.

    The scenario isn’t universal. According to the study people from uncooperative backgrounds who weigh every step are more selfish. If those naturally selfish people engage with kind people, the selfish person will still not do anything without some form of perceived value, state the psychologists.

    “There’s an asymmetry in what stopping to think can do,” Bear said. “Stopping to think can never lead a mean person to become nice. It can only lead to a nice person becoming mean.”

    Making a selfish person more altruistic appears to be impossible, but the preservation of kindness without reward is forever at risk, scholars suggest.

    “It seems surprising and that’s why this is cool,” Rand declared.


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    behavior, research, study, National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Yale University, United States
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