Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Vindictiveness Does Not Pay

Date:
March 26, 2009
Source:
Bonn, Universitaet
Summary:
Vindictiveness doesn´t pay. According to a new study, a person inclined to deal with inequity on a tit-for-tat basis tends to experience more unemployment than other people. Vindictive people also have less friends and are less satisfied with their lives.

Vindictiveness doesn´t pay. This has been demonstrated by a current study at Bonn and Maastricht Universities. According to this study, a person inclined to deal with  inequity on a tit-for-tat basis tends to experience more unemployment than other people. Vindictive people also have less friends and are less satisfied with their lives. The study appears in the current edition of the Economic Journal.

We tend to live by the motto “tit for tat”. We repay an invitation to dinner with a counter-invitation; when a friend helps us to move house, we help to move his furniture a few months later. On the other hand, we repay meanness in the same coin. Scientists speak here of reciprocity. A person who repays friendly actions in a like manner is said to behave with positive reciprocity, and one who avenges unfairness acts with negative reciprocity.

Positive and negative reciprocity are interdependent traits: many people incline to positive reciprocity, others more to negative; others, again, incline to both. The researchers from Bonn and Maastricht wanted to discover what influence these traits of character have on parameters such as “success” or “satisfaction with life”. For this, they resorted to data from the so-called “socio-economic panel”.  This contains information gathered by the Deutsche Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (German Institute for economic Research) in its annual surveys. These involve around 20,000 respondents from all over Germany and cover a diversity of topics.

The researchers in Bonn used this instrument to discover something about the attitudes to reciprocity of the participants in the study. They were to state, for example, to what extent they would repay a favour or, on the other hand, an insult on a tit-for-tat basis. “Both positive and negative reciprocity are widespread in Germany”, declares Professor Dr. Armin Falk of Bonn University, summarising the results.

Positively reciprocal People perform more Overtime

The researchers then related these data to other results of the survey, whereby they stumbled upon a number of interesting correlations: “Thus, positively reciprocal people tend on average to perform more overtime, but only when they find the remuneration fair”, declares Professor Dr. Thomas Dohmen of  Maastricht University. “As they are very sensitive to incentives, they also tend to earn more money”.

This is in stark contrast to vindictive people. With these people, the equation “more money = more work” does not always apply. Even pay cuts are not an effective means of bringing negatively reciprocal people back into line. Ultimately the danger arises that they will take revenge – for example, by refusing to work, or by sabotage. “On the basis of these theoretical considerations it would be natural to expect that negatively reciprocal people are more likely to lose their jobs”,  Falk explains: “A supposition which coincides with our results. Consequently, negatively reciprocal people experience a significantly higher rate of unemployment”. 

And in other respects, too, vindictiveness is not a maxim to be recommended. Anyone who prefers to act according to the Old Testament motto of “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” has on average less friends – and is clearly less than satisfied with his or her life.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Bonn, Universitaet. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Bonn, Universitaet. "Vindictiveness Does Not Pay." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090326085404.htm>.
Bonn, Universitaet. (2009, March 26). Vindictiveness Does Not Pay. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090326085404.htm
Bonn, Universitaet. "Vindictiveness Does Not Pay." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090326085404.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) — In a ruling attorneys for both sides agreed was a first of its kind, a Georgia appeals court said parents can be held liable for what kids put online. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) — Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

Newsy (Oct. 15, 2014) — Researchers claim they’ve diagnosed the first example of the disorder in a 31-year-old U.S. Navy serviceman. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Confirmed Case Of Google Glass Addiction

First Confirmed Case Of Google Glass Addiction

Buzz60 (Oct. 15, 2014) — A Google Glass user was treated for Internet Addiction Disorder caused from overuse of the device. Morgan Manousos (@MorganManousos) has the details on how many hours he spent wearing the glasses, and what his symptoms were. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins