The pleasure of being nasty

Dr. Klaus Abbink (pictured) of Monash Business School has (along with colleague Prof. Dr. Abdolkarim Sadrieh) experimentally examined the question of pleasure derived from deliberate nastiness – specifically with regard to joy-of-destruction.

klaus-abbinkIn the joy-of-destruction game that we introduce, players can burn each other’s money, but we have removed all conventional reasons to do so. No material gain is achieved, no wrongdoing is punished, no inequality is reduced. Nevertheless, we observe a substantial incidence of nasty behavior in our hidden treatment, where spiteful actions could be covered by random destruction. When destruction is open, it rapidly goes away, but the treatment difference shows that this decline is due to fear of retaliation, not due to kindness.”

Their paper on the subject, The Pleasure of Being Nasty was published in Economics Letters, Volume 105, Issue 3, December 2009, Pages 306–308. A full copy of the work may be found here.