Haters really are going to hate. A new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology corroborates the hip-hop and Internet truism that you just can’t win with some people.
In their paper “Attitudes Without Objects,” psychologists Justin Hepler and Dolores Albarracin show that those who already hold a lot of negative views are more likely to react negatively to new stimuli. The pair asked a group of 200 men and women to evaluate how they felt about various subjects, such as camping, health care, architecture, taxidermy, crossword puzzles and Japan. They took note of the respondents who rated many of these unconnected prompts harshly (the haters). Then, a month later, they asked everyone to weigh in again to control for the possibility that the grumps were just in a bad mood the first time.
After marking the dependably hateful haters with a scarlet H, the researchers presented participants with information about a new product: the “Monahan LPI-800 Compact 2/3-Cubic-Foot 700-Watt Microwave Oven.” This elaborately titled microwave oven does not exist, but participants didn’t know this and were given three glowing fake reviews and three dissatisfied fake reviews. While people who more or less liked taxidermy and crossword puzzles also liked the oven, the haters drenched their fake consumer surveys in haterade. They were also more likely to hate on recycling and vaccine shots.
To be fair, it’s hard to be a ray of sunshine when you’ve got the measles.
© 2013, Slate