Rude Behavior Is Contagious


Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 8.55.09 PMAnyone with manners, or who happens to watch the bovine behavior of crowds knows this to be a fact.  Rude behavior creates rude behavior.  I can’t think of a better cautionary tale more appropriate for today, can you?

“...The finding that negative behavior can beget negative behavior is not exactly new, as researchers demonstrated decades ago that individuals learn vicariously and will repeat destructive actions. In the now infamous Bobo doll experiment, for example, children who watched an adult strike a Bobo doll with a mallet or yell at it were themselves abusive toward the doll. Similarly, supervisors who believe they are mistreated by managers tend to pass on this mistreatment to their employees.

Previous work on the negative contagion effect, however, has focused primarily on high-intensity behaviors like hitting or abusive supervision that are (thankfully) relatively infrequent in everyday life. In addition, in most previous studies the destructive behavior was modeled by someone with a higher status than the observer. These extreme negative behaviors may thus get repeated because (a) they are quite salient and (b) the observer is consciously and intentionally trying to emulate the behavior of someone with an elevated social status…”

We live in a country where people no longer have manners.  They behave like pigs during a meal.  They are rude and they are nasty.  By the evening news, we will be flooded with stories about how nasty people were today.  When a society no longer has manners, then new rules for behavior are needed.  People who once would not act a bit racist, don’t care.  They have no reason to keep quiet.  They have no manners.  Someone who has manners treats people the way they wish to be treated.  When you treat people the way you want to be treated, there is no need for thought or behavior police.