DETROIT (WWJ) – It’s a darker personality trait most of us probably wouldn’t admit to, but Oakland University researchers are taking a closer look at the role spitefulness plays in our lives.

You probably know a relative or a co-worker who tends to be spiteful; basically, going to such lengths to hurt someone else that they willingly hurt themselves.

And if you don’t know somebody like that, maybe it’s you.

To investigate how much spite affects our interpersonal relationships, Oakland University researchers developed a spitefulness scale, surveying 1,200 people with a short online questionnaire.

Study author, Dr. Virgil Zeigler-Hill, says the findings show people behave spitefully both to differentiate themselves from others, and to send a clear social signal.

“Other people are probably going to be very careful and tentative in their dealings with you, and aren’t going to take advantage of you,”  Zeigler-Hill said. “They see, this is the way I treat people who treat me poorly, is I inflict harm on then; so it could be also a social signal that people are sending.”

If you’re not already sure just how spiteful you are, take the spite quiz at this link.


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