A popular explanation of why it's worse to seem stupid than lazy is that lazy seems like more of a choice, so not permanent. Similarly it seems more admired and desired to have innate artistic talent than to try hard despite being less naturally good. Being unable to stand by and let a tragedy occur ('I had no choice!') is more virtuous than making a calm, reasoned decision to avoid a tragedy.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
On the other hand, people usually claim to prefer being liked for their personality over their looks. When asked they also relate it to their choice in the matter; it means more to be liked for something you 'had a say in'. People are also proud of achievements they work hard on and decisions they make, and less proud of winning the lottery and forced moves.
The influence of apparent choice on our emotions is opposite in these cases, yet we often use it in the explanation for both. Is percieved level of choice really relevant to anything? If so, why does it explain effects in opposite directions? If not, why do we think of it so soon when questioned on these things?