We all like to think that being kind, responsible, and fair will lead to a happy life. But what if we’re wrong? What if nice guys really do finish last? A new study published in Nature Human Behavior suggests that those who value economic equity, at their brain’s core, are more likely to be depressed. Those who prefer everything for themselves tend to be happier.
According to the model of “social value orientation,” humans can be placed into three rough categories, based on their reactions to economic inequity. 60% of people are pro-socials, meaning they prefer resources to be distributed equally among everyone. 30% are individualists, meaning they are primarily concerned with maximizing their own resources. Roughly 10% are competitive; to them, the most important outcome is that they have more than other people.