Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Friday, 20 June 2014

STUDY: Negative people are more efficient at their jobs... -

STUDY: Negative people are more efficient at their jobs... - 

Everyone hates a hater. They’re the ones who hate the sun because it's too hot, and the breeze because it's too cold.

The rest of us, then, can take comfort in the fact that haters may not want to get involved in as many activities as the rest of us. 

But in a twist of irony, that grumpy person you know may actually be better at their job since they spend so much time on fewer activities.

This, according to U.S. research, gives them the opportunity to hone their skills in specific tasks more so than people with a sunny disposition.

Researchers at the University of Illinois and University of Pennsylvania found that people who had a positive attitude were likely to get involved in more activities. 

Meanwhile people who ‘hate’, do very few things with their time.

In two studies, participants reported all of their activities over a one-week period and also completed a measure of attitudes.

Nearly 15 per cent of the differences in how many activities people took part in over a week was associated with being a hater versus a 'liker'.

Haters and likers didn’t differ in how much time they spent doing activities throughout the week; they merely differed in the number of activities that they did.

Haters could be characterised as less active because they do fewer things as people with a positive attitude.

But they could also be characterised as more focused because they spend more time on the small number of tasks.

‘The present results demonstrate that patterns of general action may occur for reasons other than the desire to be active versus inactive,’ the researchers wrote.

‘Indeed, some people may be more active than others not because they want to be active per se, but because they identify a large number of specific behaviours in which they want to engage.’

The findings may have implications for understanding the development of skills and expertise.

For example, likers may adopt a jack-of-all-trades approach to life, investing small amounts of time in a wide variety of activities. This means they never have expertise in one activity.

In contrast, when haters find an activity they actually like, they may invest a larger amount of time in that task, allowing them to develop a higher level of skill.

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