Angry Rebels Are More Compassionate than Nice People

[Editor’s note: This article is based on an actual study that was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Personality, so it’s worthy of consideration.]
Eileen Shim's avatar image By Eileen Shim June 30, 2014

16 thoughts on “Angry Rebels Are More Compassionate than Nice People

  1. I get it, but a bit simplistic. I think anyone who is nice all the time is inauthentic and pretty fucking boring, to boot. I think there is a grey area somewhere too, between being an angry rebel and being excessively nice. Personally, I can’t be any one thing all the time.

  2. I’d like to know more about the predicates of both experiments. How exactly was it defined to the people participating? What were the reasons given for what they were going to do? What was the assumptions and how were they built into the structure of the experiments?

  3. I believe a more reliable indicator of moral and ethical behavior comes from someone with a strong personality that values others opinions without being unduly influenced by them. Someone of this nature is more likely to ask themselves questions like: “Does this situation pass the smell test?” or “What is wrong with this photograph?” rather than political leanings. Perhaps such a personality trait can’t be measured easily or accurately.

  4. I think this is broadly true. The mos agreeable are also agreeable to authority, no matter what is asked of them.

    But I would like to know more about the rebellious women – were they rebelling because they were being told what to do by a man?

    1. What! That’s a bit silly – either the women were rebelling BC of men, meaning feminists rock, or they were rebelling for the same reasons as the men.

      1. If the women were rebelling under the same rationales as the hyper masculine males, then their sole reason can be to gain popularity from the said male crowd.

  5. The pool sample is atrocious. Exactly how large a population is 66 individuals supposed to represent?

    That aside, I agree with some previous comments. There is very little detail in this article, and the premise we are given is obviously simplistic.

    Speaking for myself, I am a right – leaning friendly person that fits your apparent view of a monster, and yet I have literally placed my life and health on the line to aid others. Being amiable does not equal being unthinking and immoral.

    1. Standard sampling procedure allows that n>30 (sample number is greater than 30) is a sufficient size for a representative sample of the population µ mean. (I have a Ph.D. in Sociology). However, there are other sampling conditions that have to met, such as drawing a stratified random sample, and other intervening variables must be controlled. I don’t know all the specifics of how the sample was drawn. But if it was published in a peer-reviewed journal, it probably meets those basic requirements for social research.

      1. Forgive me, I lack the degree, exactly how large a population is n>30 supposed to represent?

    2. The pool sample is perfect because 66 individuals is just enough to run a prison, a death camp, a slave labour factory or a reality TV show. All of these exist now within our current world population and they continue to start up new ones in what appears to be a spontaneous natural way. The flimsy pretence of the scientists who administered the experiment seems improbable until compared to sweat shop labour recruiting. Its better than where they are now seems to be the logic of the people both as those who sign up as participants for these experiments and for those who get stuck in sweat

  6. This article is like a sore that needs picking at. It needs to bleed its self clear of all kinds of social puss and habit. As soon as people read this article about compliance to authority having a bad side people went right back to their scientific and cultural tools to re-establish the authority that had been mangled by this very slight/thin sample of a truth that many of us know from first hand knowledge. Lets not also forget that when Hanna Arendt wrote about the Nazi leadership her point was that it was ordinary people doing ordinary things, just doing their jobs unquestioningly which was the backbone of an entire system and not the rabid haters and sociopaths. If an entire country can be pulled onto this path is this not enough proof that this weakness to complain or resist is truly an active negative agent in our modern societies?

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