Last week, a violent mob of Trump supporters stormed the United States Capitol, seeking to delay certification of the 2020 presidential election results. The riot failed to achieve its goal, and dozens have been arrested and charged. Why did so many people risk their safety, their employment, and tarnish their criminal record for the purpose of harming others? One potential factor at play may be the infectious nature of spite.
Spite is a puzzling human behavior. It’s the act of causing harm to another while gaining no benefit for one’s self. And although it is costly to all involved, a new study finds that it is also highly contagious.