COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 1 (UPI) — People are more aggressive when they are better off than others, U.S. and French researchers suggest.
Study co-author Brad Bushman, a professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University, said winners — those who outperform others on a competitive task — act more aggressively against the people they beat than the losers did against the victors.
Bushman and French scholars Dominique Muller and Emmanuelle Ceaux of Pierre Mendes-France University in Grenoble and Baptise Subra of University Paris Descartes conducted three related studies involving college students.
All three studies involved people who believed they had won a competition.They were then directed to conduct an aggressive act against someone they perceived to have lost a competition.
The study found participants who were winners in the first task were more aggressive in the second task, than losers were.
The study found the losers acted about as aggressively as did those in the control group. The control group members didn’t know if it they were winners or losers.
The findings — repeated in three different studies, in two different countries — suggested winners act particularly aggressively, at least toward the losers. Further research will seek to find out if winners act more aggressively toward everyone, or just the people they defeat, Bushman said.
The findings were published online ahead of the print edition of the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.