Sunday, June 24, 2012

15% Evil

There are a number of ways of defining evil.  However defined, wanton destruction is usually included somewhere within evil's parameters.

Destructor Game (pdf)
 Esther Kessler, Maria Ruiz-Martos, David Skuse, Universitat Jaumi, 2012/11 (hat tip: Overcoming Bias)

Destructive behavior has mostly been investigated by games in which all players have the option to simultaneously destroy (burn) their partners’ money. In the destructor game, players are randomly paired and assigned the roles of destructor versus passive player. The destructor player chooses to destroy or not to destroy a share of his passive partner’s earnings. The passive partner cannot retaliate. In addition, a random event (nature) destroys a percentage of some passive subject’s earnings. From the destructor player’s view, destruction is benefit-less, costless, hidden and unilateral. Unilateral destruction diminishes with respect to bilateral destruction studies, but it does not vanish: 15% of the subjects choose to destroy.
This result suggests that, at least for some, destruction is intrinsically pleasurable.
As Robin Hanson noted, this is not "big" evil.  It is a game after all.  But it is pure evil.


Anonymous said...

I have always believed that 10% of people are evil. Not sure if their home enviroment or upbringing are the cause of it.


russell1200 said...

GK: Depending how you look at it, current evidence says your estimation was either off by 5% or an enormous 50%! LOL

I work in construction. I don't think the number is higher there, but the culture does not reguire as much disguise.

I would have put pure petty evil -which is what we have here - at maybe 20%. People messing with people because they can.