If I asked you this question, would you point to a list of actions e.g. giving up your seat on a train, giving directions to a stranger or opening a door for someone, as proof that you are a nice person? According to a recent study, you might not be as nice as you think you are.
Psychologists from Goldsmiths University of London (in partnership with Monarch Airlines) conducted the study in order to determine if there is a link between nice people and their levels of health, wealth and happiness.
Facereader, which monitors facial features such
as furrowing of brows, how eyes appear and shape of mouth, was used in
conjunction with questionnaires to validate participates responses.
The researchers found that:
- 98 % of British people believe that that they are in the top half of the population when it comes to niceness.
- most people happily did the actions detailed
above such as giving up their seat on public transport but:-
i) two thirds rarely if ever helped someone to carry heavy shopping bags,
ii) five-sixths infrequently give money to strangers, and
iii) only a quarter of people give blood or help elderly or regularly helped the elderly/infirm to cross the road.
- Those who rated themselves as “nice” were likely to be richer (nicer people earn £3,500 more than those who are ‘nasty’) and happier, but not necessarily more pleasant.
- 81 per cent of the “nice” participants reported being content in their lives – almost three times the number of “not very nice” participants (30 per cent).
“Our study shows that participants who report that they are ‘nice’ scored higher on emotional intelligence – which can help them deal better with stress and chaos in their lives,” said Professor Jonathan Freeman, who led the study.
“The results reveal that our opinions of our own niceness do not always stack up with the psychometric data.
“We observed a really interesting result in relation to people’s ratings of how nice they are, and how they scored on validated measures of individual differences.
“For example, more than half of participants who rated themselves as the second-highest level of nice scored below the sample average on agreeableness - so people think they’re nicer than they really may be.”