Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Jerks win?

James Taranto notes a study:
"Rude People Can Be Perceived as Powerful," according to a Scientific American headline. The magazine reports on a new study in which subjects read about "a person who, without asking, helped himself to a cup of coffee from another person's pot" and "a bookkeeper [who] consciously ignored a financial error," as well as "scrupulous coffee drinkers and bookkeepers." The subjects reckoned that the bad-behaving ones were "more in-control and leaderlike":
In another test, being publicly rude also seemed to engender a perceived sense of power. A hundred twenty-six subjects watched one of two videos. One of a man sitting in a sidewalk café and acting courteously, the other of the same man stretching his legs out on a chair next to him, tossing his cigarette ashes wherever, and barking orders at the cafe staff. Subjects thought the crude man was more likely to be a decision-maker and get his way than the same man behaving himself.

So next time you think someone is important, remember: They [sic] may simply be a jerk.
And a comment at Scientific American suspects that may explain another behavior pattern:
That might also explain some of the appeal of "bad boys" to certain women, as they're unconsciously perceived as being more socially dominant....
I Timothy 3:1-3 suggests that Christian leaders should exemplifly other qualities:
If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome.... [ESV]
'Don't You Know Who I Am?' - WSJ.com, Rude People Can Be Perceived as Powerful: Scientific American Podcast