We're a little crazy, about science!

Haters gonna… hate?

Haters gonna hate, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock since the internet has been born you’ve probably heard this phrase. Well now there is a new study that shows all that time spent hating, might mean less work doing.

The study, published in the journal Social Psychology might sound like more of a joke than actual science, but it is, in fact very real. Previous research done by the team have already shown that haters [and likers] are predisposed to be that way. Assuming that our disposition motivates behavior, the team suggested that people who like many things (those with positive dispositional attitudes) also do many things during the course of a week, while people who dislike many things (those with low dispositional attitudes) do very few things with their time.

It turns out the researchers where right. In two studies, participants reported all of their activities over a one-week period and also completed a measure of dispositional attitudes. Although haters [defined as someone with a low dispositional attitude] and likers [defined as someone with a high dispositional attitude] did not differ in the types of activities they pursued, haters tended to do fewer activities throughout the week than did likers. Nearly 15 percent of the differences in how many activities people conducted during a typical week was associated with being a hater versus a liker.

Haters and likers also did not differ in how much time they spent doing activities throughout the week; they merely differed in the number of activities that they did. As a result, haters spent more time on any given activity than did likers. Thus, compared with likers, haters could be characterized as less active because they do fewer things, or they could be characterized as more focused because they spend more time on the small number of things they do.

“The present results demonstrate that patterns of general action may occur for reasons other than the desire to be active versus inactive,” the researchers wrote. “Indeed, some people may be more active than others not because they want to be active per se, but because they identify a large number of specific behaviors in which they want to engage.”

The team of researchers suggest that their findings may have implications for understanding the development of skills and expertise. For example, likers may adopt a jack-of-all-trades approach to life, investing small amounts of time in a wide variety of activities. This would leave them somewhat skilled at many tasks. In contrast, when haters find an activity they actually like, they may invest a larger amount of time in that task, allowing them to develop a higher skill level compared to likers. They said future work should confirm this possibility.

This same type of pattern could also be relevant to attention control. For example, likers may have more difficulty sustaining attention on a task because they perceive so many interesting and distracting opportunities in their environment. In contrast, because haters like so few things, they may be unlikely to be distracted when they are doing a task, and thus their generalized dislike may actually benefit their attention control.

So depending on how you look at it, haters are more productive when given a single task, which might mean being a hater can be a good thing.


Tardigrade [AKA: Mr. Bad ass water bear] is not impressed.

Want the full study? Don’t hate, I have both of them right —here! And the second one right —here!

Hepler J, & Albarracín D (2013). Attitudes without objects: evidence for a dispositional attitude, its measurement, and its consequences. Journal of personality and social psychology, 104 (6), 1060-76 PMID: 23586409

Hepler, J., & Albarracin, D. (2014). Liking More Means Doing More Social Psychology, 1-8 DOI: 10.1027/1864-9335/a000198

4 responses

  1. i hate this.


    June 21, 2014 at 9:59 am

  2. just kidding, i love you


    June 21, 2014 at 9:59 am

    • Don’t lie, I know you hate it. But in any case, I love you too!


      June 21, 2014 at 10:13 am

  3. Guest

    I disagree, being a hater is not good at all.

    When you are a hater, you are closed-minded and you miss wonderful things that maybe you’ll like, but you’re too closed-minded to check it out.

    When you are a hater, you may be better at work, but who cares?

    When you are a liker, you are open-minded, you do anything in your power to make the world a better place. When you are a liker, you do your best to change the world. Being a liker is wonderful.

    When you’re a hater, you only care about yourself, you miss amazing opportunities, and you hurt people with your hate comments.

    Being a hater is not a good thing AT ALL.


    August 8, 2014 at 7:15 am

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