Why It Doesn’t Pay To Be Just Nice– You Must Also Be Intelligent

Being nice can only get you so far, says science. Researchers from the Universities of Bristol, Minnesota, and Heidelberg made up a series of games to find out which factors lead to cooperative behavior when people interact in social and workplace situations. They found participants with a higher IQ displayed ‘significantly higher’ levels of cooperation, which in turn led them to earn more money as part of the game. Those who were less intelligent failed to appropriately follow a consistent strategy and estimate the future consequences of their actions, which led them to different outcomes. Personality traits such as agreeableness, conscientiousness, trust and generosity also affected behavior, but not as much as intelligence, and only at first. Researcher professor Eugenio Proto, with the University of Bristol, explains, “People might naturally presume that people who are nice, conscientious and generous are automatically more cooperative. But, through our research, we find overwhelming support for the idea that intelligence is the primary condition for a socially cohesive, cooperative society.” (EurekAlert!