Mean Or Nice: Which Is More Contageous?

I found this blog entry on Dr. Gupta’s blog very interesting. It talks about the fact that being mean is more likely to stick with someone and effect them than being nice. Isn’t that frustrating? Wouldn’t we all like to believe that we could make things better by being nice when all it takes is a few rude people to change that.

That’s because, it seems being inconsiderate and rude to people has a much bigger impact than being nice. A recent study, conducted at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, found feeling slighted can have a bigger impact on how a person treats another, than being the recipient of someone’s generosity.

Working with college students who were tasked with exchanging money in an orchestrated test of taking and sharing, researchers found the young people were willing to share at beginning of the study. But when they felt they were being taken advantage of, or that their fellow students were cheating them, they became more aggressive and greedier, rather than stepping back and appreciating what they were given.

Psychologists say this is not unusual. The meaner deed has the greater impact. Give something to someone and they may appreciate it. Take it away and they’ll fight you or at least object strongly.

As the doctor says “All this anger and hostility not only leads to unhappy people, but can cause anxiety, which raises our blood pressure, and puts stress on our hearts.”

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