Home > Uncategorized > Thinking the best of people

Thinking the best of people

One of my new favorite blogs, Predictably Irrational, covers many aspects of the human mind which is really worth some thought. Yesterday’s post was no different.

And, as it turns out, that is quite literally true: Harvard researchers Kurt Gray and Daniel Wegner recently found that we experience greater pain when we perceive it to be deliberately inflicted, rather than by accident.

What’s more, deliberate pain was not just more acute, it also lasted longer: whereas participants rated the unintentional shocks less and less unpleasant as the experiment progressed, the intentional shocks remained just as painful.

I have no research backing me up on this, but couldn’t it be true that this does not only apply to physical pain? If we think for example that someone is disturbing us deliberately, we react harder than if we think it was an accident? Thinking "he did that on purpose" makes stuff harder to take. We get irritated. But thinking that something is deliberate is not the same as knowing and try to remember that if you think something is deliberate, you make the pain bigger. So, why not spill the beans and stop guessing? Or even better, why think stuff is deliberate in the first place?

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