Weird Science votes all the useful people off the island

Don’t punish Prometheus. He might change his mind.

via Ars Technica by jtimmer@arstechnica.com (John Timmer) on 8/29/10


You’ve been extremely helpful, so bugger off: What started out as a routine study of group behavior ended up turning a bit surreal. According to the authors of a new paper, they started out trying to find out how long a group would tolerate members that abused the common good. In the process, they found that members who put the most into the common good were quickly expelled from the group. Not entirely believing it, they replicated the findings—twice. Some of the hate comes from the overly officious group members, who viewed those who gave more than they needed to as breaking the rules. But some of it also comes from people who think that altruistic behavior like this simply raises expectations unnecessarily.

Bonus points go to the people who put the press release together for the best two opening sentences I’ve probably read all year: “You know those goody-two-shoes who volunteer for every task and thanklessly take on the annoying details nobody else wants to deal with? That’s right: Other people really can’t stand them.”

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