Why Do The Bad Guys Always Seem To Win?

Posted on November 21, 2015

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There are specific psychological reasons why bad people are able to exploit others to their advantage, and part of the problem is our tolerance for bad behavior, and an unwillingness to intervene.

1. Bad Guys Play Dirty (and we let them get away with it). Like it or not, most of us play by the rules and have a “trusting bias.” That is, we expect others to play by the rules and to deal with us honestly. Bad guys, however, don’t play by the rules, and they quickly learn that it’s pretty easy to lie to others and get away with it. That’s why so many of us are duped by unscrupulous con artists, sales people, or others with bad motives.

2. Bad Guys Understand Power Dynamics. We are often reluctant to question authority. Con artists move about with an air of authority — consequently, they are more likely to go unquestioned.

3. The Bystander Effect. All too often, we simply stand by when others are being bullied or attacked — not wanting to get involved, or, even worse, not wanting to become the bad guys’ target. Bullies and criminals will often carefully pick their targets, choosing those who are less likely to retaliate.

4. Perceptual Biases (Vividness Effect). Have you ever noticed that bad things appear to happen in clusters? For example, we hear about a murder or a terrorist attack, and we soon hear about another one, and another. Much of this perception that bad events, and bad guys winning, are on the rise or occurring in clusters, is due to the vividness effect — vivid events take precedence in our memories. It gives the illusion that the bad guys evil deeds are on the rise, when they may not be.

5. Perceptual Biases (Weighting of Negative Events). Research on social perception shows that we are more likely to notice and remember negative, as opposed to positive, events. This gives the appearance that the bad guys are more active than they are and that bad things are on the rise.

There is more that we can do to stop the bad and promote the good - follow the link below to find out how.


Source material from Psychology Today

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