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Psychologists Find that Nice People Are More Likely to Hurt You

Illustration for article titled Psychologists Find that Nice People Are More Likely to Hurt You

People who are agreeable are also more likely to make destructive choices, if they think doing so will help them conform to social expectations. That's the finding of psychologists, who suggest that disagreeable, ornery people may be more helpful than we think.

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Researchers recently conducted a version of Stanley Milgram's famous obedience experiments, where people were asked by doctors to "shock" others until they died. Only later did they discover they people they'd "killed" were just actors. A surprising number of otherwise kindly people "killed" others, just because they'd been given orders.

In revisiting the experiment, researchers have found evidence that agreeable people will often choose to do destructive things because they don't want to upset anyone by disagreeing with direct orders.

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Writes Kenneth Worthy at Psychology Today:

People with more agreeable, conscientious personalities are more likely to make harmful choices. In these new obedience experiments, people with more social graces were the ones who complied with the experimenter's wishes and delivered electric shocks they believed could harm an innocent person. By contrast, people with more contrarian, less agreeable personalities were more likely to refuse to hurt other people when told to do so.

This probably explains why Hulk is always saving the world.

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DISCUSSION

The thing about following orders is, what are your other options? If you don't do it, somebody else will, and then also you'll be punished for not doing it. You don't get very far in this life by deliberately flouting authority.