Nobody likes a do-gooder: Study confirms selfless behaviour is ‘alienating’

Posted: August 28th, 2010 by Gadget42

Gadget42 Note: Basically shoots down the basis of socialism..

from Daily Mail

They probably think their selfless behaviour makes them popular but the truth about ‘do-gooders’ is nobody really likes them, according to new research.

A series of studies found that those who volunteer to take on unwanted tasks or who hand out gifts without being prompted, quickly alienate themselves.

Psychologists believe this is because it makes the rest of us feel guilty and puts pressure on us to behave in an equally selfless fashion.

Researchers say do-gooders come to be resented because they ‘raise the bar’ for what is expected of everyone.

It suggests that people might want to think twice before waxing lyrical about their charity work or volunteering to put in extra hours at the office.

Social psychologist Professor Craig Parks said: ‘The fear is that this new standard will make everyone else look bad.

‘It doesn’t matter that the overall welfare of the group is better served by someone’s unselfish behaviour.

‘What is objectively good, we see as subjectively bad.

‘The do-gooders are also seen as deviant rule breakers. It’s as if they’re giving away Monopoly money so someone can stay in the game, irking other players no end.’

Professor Parks, of Washington State University, carried out a series of four tests with groups of people which showed that do-gooders got people’s backs up.

In each case others reacted by wanting them thrown out of the group.

Prof Parks added: ‘It’s perhaps not hard to think of examples of this but we were the first to show this happens and have explanations for why.’

Parks led the research entitled ‘The Desire to Expel Unselfish Members from the Group.’

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