Research Science And The ‘Asshole’

April 14, 2022

Overcast this early-evening Thursday here in California’s Central Valley — rain maybe tomorrow or Saturday, but we don’t expect to get very wet.

Distracted and tired of the news cycle clamoring today and couldn’t really get interested in one item, or even two (although there are thousands of news stories out there fighting for attention), and in doing my twice/three-times daily surf past certain sources/blogs/news sites/whatever I did spy a twit-of a twist of reality in science.

Further aside and further scrolling, and discovered the formation of ‘assholes,’ as research at the University of Georgia indicates assholes are mostly male assholes — via the University of California Press, from February (just spied it this afternoon)):

Insults convey information about the speaker’s perception of the target’s personality. Previous research has found that several commonly used insults (“asshole,” “dick,” “bitch”) are uniformly associated with self- and other-reported antagonism (or low Agreeableness). We aimed to replicate and extend these findings by focusing on “asshole,” a common insult used to refer to both men and women. In the present study, participants (n = 397) described the “biggest assholes” in their lives using a measure of the Five-Factor Model of personality. “Assholes” described by participants were typically middle-aged, predominantly male, and included romantic partners, coworkers, bosses, family members, and friends. Results showed that “assholes” were perceived to be characterized by interpersonally relevant traits (i.e., low Agreeableness, high Anger). The consensus Five-Factor Model profile for target “assholes” was similar to expert profiles of psychopathic, antisocial, and narcissistic personality disorders. Exploratory analyses conducted on open-ended descriptions of nominated bothersome “asshole-related” behaviors revealed common themes including manipulation, aggression, irresponsibility, and entitlement.

Or just make the asshole become an asshole:

Or just be an asshole in American life:

In spite of assholes, here are once again…

(Illustration out front: New Yorker cartoon by Bruce Eric Kaplan, found here).

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