Here's why haters hate

It's all about the dispositional attitude, according to researchers

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Image credit: Flickr/quinn.anya


Everyone who's not a hater probably hates haters. I know I do.

I see them everywhere: Walking the streets, attending shows, spewing online. In fact, the Internet actually seems to have exponentially increased the number of haters, but blogs and social media really just give them an easy outlet to express their hate.

But have you ever stopped to wonder why haters hate? Me neither, but two university researchers have.

Their answer? It's because haters are total jerks. Which isn't exactly how they put it in their recent paper:

People with a positive dispositional attitude have a strong tendency to like things, whereas people with a negative dispositional attitude have a strong tendency to dislike things, according to research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The journal article, "Attitudes without objects: Evidence for a dispositional attitude, its measurement, and its consequences," was written by Justin Hepler, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Dolores Albarracín, Ph.D., the Martin Fishbein Chair of Communication and Professor of Psychology at Penn.

Hepler and Albarracín created a scale "that requires test participants to report their attitudes toward a wide variety of unrelated stimuli, such as architecture, cold showers, politics, and soccer," according to the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communications.

The team then averaged the responses of each person the calculate how strongly they like or dislike things in general.

"Throughout the studies the researchers found that people with generally positive dispositional attitudes are more open than people with generally negative dispositional attitudes," Penn reports. "In day-to-day practice, this means that people with positive dispositional attitudes may be more prone to actually buy new products, get vaccine shots, follow regular positive actions (recycling, driving carefully, etc.)"

I know, I also was hoping they'd discover a hate gene or something -- we all seek clarity -- but it's not like they're DNA researchers.

Still, it's an interesting attempt to analyze the underlying reasons behind one of the more noxious elements of our culture. But the results of this research truly can be summed up with a familiar expression: Haters gonna hate.

Now read this:

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Spidernaut never got to enjoy its fame

Polar ice sheets continue to melt, but climate-change deniers remain thick as ever

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