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Psychologists Reveal an Unsettling Truth About People Who Are Too Nice Psychologists Reveal an Unsettling Truth About People Who Are Too Nice

Psychologists Reveal an Unsettling Truth About People Who Are Too Nice

by Joel Stice Feb 3, 2015

If you’ve ever seen the movie “The Stepford Wives”, Matthew Broderick moves to the perfect suburban town where everyone is nice – too nice. He soon learns that the women have been transformed into robots, controlled by their husbands. It’s a satirical take on just how unsettling it can be when a person appears to be always in a good mood, nice at every waking moment.

In 1961, psychologist Stanley Milgram conducted an experiment in order to understand Nazis’ rise to power and tested how far people would obey authority. Volunteers were asked to turn a dial and send an electrical shock to the test subject (an actor that was faking pain) gradually increasing the voltage. Some volunteers were willing to shock the subject until he was dead.

milgram1

The Milgram study got an update recently when the Journal of Personality revealed just what sorts of people are willing to obey the orders of authority – no matter how outlandish the commands. Those with personalities described as “highly agreeable and conscientious” were more likely to perform orders that harmed others.

Participants were 35 males and 31 females aged 26–54 from the general population, who were contacted by phone 8 months after their participation in a study transposing Milgram’s obedience paradigm to the context of a fake television game show.

Those who were especially friendly and considered agreeable obeyed orders because they didn’t want to upset the order of things, while those who were described as less friendly were quicker to speak up for themselves. Additionally, the study revealed people holding left-wing political views were less willing to follow orders that harmed others.

In short, it’s probably fair to assume that a-holes are less likely to tolerate ridiculous orders from authority figures than somebody who’s a pushover.

  • Gospace

    Additionally, the study revealed people holding left-wing political views were less willing to follow orders that harmed others.

    Of course an academic study comes to that conclusion. Mary Jo Kopechne and Che Guevaras victims couldn’t be reached for comment.

  • Marty Johnson

    All y’all are safe with me then…biotches

  • Sean

    “people holding left-wing political views were less willing to follow orders that harmed others”…Then why is it you see the left wing people rioting, violently protesting, burning and attacking cops at the DNC?

    • Mark Daniel Johansen

      How can you say that? The truly far left have always resisted orders to harm others. We can see how in the communist Soviet Union, the KGB consistently fought against orders from Joe Stalin to harm innocent people. And Mao’s youth gangs. And Pol Pot’s killing fields henchmen. And Hitler’s brown shirts. (Hitler’s party, recall, was the “National Socialist Party”.) All these left-wing people consistently resisted immoral orders … oh, wait. Hmm, seems to me that the far left has historically been far MORE willing to torture and kill for their cause than any right winger.

  • Mark Daniel Johansen

    Because it’s nowhere near as much fun if it was someone else’s idea.

  • Mark Daniel Johansen

    One may smile and smile and be a villain. — Shakespeare

  • Anthony Illiano

    as I’m learning … being very kind is but a sweet gesture but it can be very flawed if you are suppressing your emotions or constructive thoughts to avoid confrontation or disturbing the peace for others.
    What is truly noble instead of kindness, on our shared path to self-betterment, is radical honesty with the courage to be entirely authentic with others about our emotions and what insight “comes through” for us in that very moment, in a non -violent/accusational and constructive way.
    The suppression of our personal truth is a breeding ground for judgment, or worst, dissociation and resentment to creep in. Where as the loving sharing of personal truth is an opportunity to cultivate even deeper relationships via our dedication to virtue and deeper harmony.

    • Catrina Armendariz

      Well said, brother!