We Actually Feel LESS Responsible For The Bad Things We Do

Stress_LyNgoIllustrated By Ly Ngo.
It's a familiar feeling — your boss is giving you accolades for a job well done and your mind is pleasantly taking in the knowledge that you performed well. But, when your project didn't go so well and your boss is holding you accountable for the slide, your brain is likely coming up with tons of reasons that it wasn't really your fault.
It turns out that, rationale aside, that this dodging of responsibility is actually hardwired into our brains. Researchers did a little test on some unsuspecting subjects, asking them to press a button, after which one of three outcomes occurred: positive, negative, or neutral. The people were then asked how long the response time was between pushing the button and the reaction.
People who experienced a negative reaction to their button pushing reported a longer lag time than those who experienced a positive. But, surprise: All the lag times were the exact same, indicating that our brains actually try to put distance between us and a reaction, but only when the reaction is negative.
Study researcher Patrick Haggard, of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience from the University College London, explains, "Our result suggests that people may really experience less responsibility for negative than for positive outcomes." So, the next time you want to shirk responsibility for forgetting to take out the trash while simultaneously basking in praise for remembering to file a report on time, just remember: It's your brain doing that. (The Huffington Post)
Advertisement

More from Mind

Watch

R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Documentary
Five love stories behind diverse, multicultural marriages.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Life experiments, 5 days at a time.
Watch Now
Fashion
The style of subculture.
Watch Now
Beauty
Viral trends, tried and tested.
Watch Now
Documentary
From vibrators to lipstick, learn how your favorite products are made.
Watch Now
Documentary
Extraordinary, one-of-a-kind individuals
Watch Now
Documentary
The latest stories to watch.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Inside the homes of millennial women — & what they paid for them
Watch Now
Comedy
Let's talk about sex, baby.
Watch Now
Documentary
Female artisans around the world
Watch Now
Politics
Made by and for smart, opinionated women.
Watch Now
Film
We helped 12 female directors claim their power.