People Love To Hate Do-Gooders, Especially At Work

Coming off as a goody-two-shoes isn’t always the best thing, a new study confirms. In a recent study published in Psychological Science, researchers found that cooperative behavior attracted punishment, most often in groups whose members compete with each other. This was even the case when punishing or diminishing the do-gooder lessened benefits for the entire group, including the punisher. This type of punishment happened most often in groups whose members compete with each other, but without competition, cooperation increased. Study leader and psychology professor Pat Barclay says that being suspicious, jealous or hostile toward those who seem better or nicer or holier than us appears to run deep in the psychological makeup of humans. Barclay further explains, saying, “You can imagine within an organization today the attitude, ‘Hey, you’re working too hard and making the rest of us look bad.’ In some organizations people are known for policing how hard others work, to make sure no one is raising the bar from what is expected.”