A new psychology paper on cynicism and disrespect reveals that being cynical is a self-perpetuating vortex that only makes people become even more cynical about human behavior, writes Keith A. Spencer in Salon.
While the paper has implications for how people perceive the world after spending too much time among people who are disrespectful, it also perfectly describes the depressive, cynical vortex that plagues many people who spend too much time online.
The paper, titled “Victims, Perpetrators or Both? The Vicious Cycle of Disrespect and Cynical Beliefs about Human Nature,” was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology this month and written by Professors Olga Stavrova, Daniel Ehlebracht, and Kathleen D. Vohs. The researchers conducted six different studies on cynicism — both how cynicism arises in people, how it perpetuates, and how people who hold cynical views are far more likely to be “treated disrespectfully.” They define cynicism as “the tendency to expect that others will engage in exploitation and deception, based on the perspective that people, at their core, are morally bankrupt and behave treacherously to maximize their self-interest.”