Fifty Shades, or Why Are Kids So Mean?


Most of us, when we were kids, were the worst human beings imaginable on the face of the planet. But why do kids call each other names like "Butt Pirate"? Why are kids so mean? On this episode, Mohnish, Kevin, and Armi cover:

- Why did Kevin tackle someone, Armi get punched in the face, and Mohnish slide across his gym floor during a pickup basketball game? 

- What is shit-talking? And how do men and women differ with aggression?

- Does being mean make you more popular?

- How does status, popularity, and dominance-displays explain human behavior?

- And more, all on this episode


Research, Fun Stuff, and More

- Yelling curses and telling people that you're going to take their mothers out to dinner (being an asshole) isn't an effective life strategy, but more pragmatically, it isn't an effective mating strategy either. But, there are traits that tend to show in assholes that people value (confidence, bravery, social proof, counter-signaling, etc.) - but you don't have to be an asshole to exhibit those traits. In fact, being mean can hurt you in the long run. Here's a good podcast from the dating perspective of being an asshole.

- Data from the American Sociological Review basically says this: The more popular a kid is, the more they tend to bully right up until the top 2% of kids or the bottom 2%. The kids at the top - the tippety-top - don't need to assert themselves or their status, because they already know they're "hot shit" and are comfortable riding the wave at the top. (The paper doesn't use that phrasing, but I wish it did).

- A good summary of the research on dominance displays and all that nonsense that we reference on the podcast. 


Credits and Special Thanks

Main Host: Mohnish Soundararajan

Co-Hosts: Kevin Sanji and Armi Legge

Research: Mohnish Soundararajan and Armi Legge

Content Ideation and Feedback: Mohnish Soundararajan, Vysali Soundararajan, and Justine Brumm

Editing: Mohnish Soundararajan and Kevin Sanji 

Music: CJ Beats

Mohnish SoundararajanPodcast