A look at whether spite pays — and if it even exists.
Season 4, Episode 3
This episode of Freakonomics Radio explores our surprising propensity for spite. We discover the gruesome etymology of the phrase “cut off your nose to spite your face” (it involves Medieval nuns cutting off their noses to preserve their chastity). Stephen Dubner and economist Benedikt Herrmann talk about so-called “money-burning” lab experiments, in which people often choose to take money away from other participants – even when it means giving up some of their own cash. Also: why do we take pleasure in harming others? So much so that we’re willing to harm ourselves in the process? The answer may lie in our biology: Freakonomics Radio producer Katherine Wells talks with biologist E. O. Wilson about whether spite exists in nature. Later in the hour, we head to Bogota, Colombia, where the mayor used unconventional methods to bring order to the city: he hired mimes to mimic and embarrass people who were violating traffic laws — and it worked. Then, Stephen Dubner talks to Robert Cialdini, best known for his research on the psychology of persuasion, about how peer pressure, and good old fashioned shame, can greatly affect the way people behave.
Season 6, Episode 30 On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: What does it mean to pursue something that everyone else thinks is nuts? And what does it take to succeed? Plus, Stephen J. Dubner asks, “What do medieval nuns and Bo Jackson have in common?” To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Outsiders by . . .
Season 7, Episode 51 This week, we look at whether spite pays — if it even exists — and how peer pressure (or good, old-fashioned shame) can push people to do the right thing. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “What Do Medieval Nuns and Bo Jackson Have in Common?” and “Riding . . .
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