Psychology of Reputation

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Psychology of Reputation

Psychology of Reputation

Contrary to popular belief, what people think of you really does matter; psychologists believe that your reputation can affect you positively or negatively in the following ways: a good reputation is beneficial as it increases peer altruism, sexual gratification, career & business success.

What is a good reputation?

"Good" is a relative term. In the end, your peers decide what behaviors are desired, acceptable, and frowned upon. For that reason, different social circles will have different ideas of what is good; we recommend choosing a social circle who is within a reasonable range of your disgust sensitivity, given that disgust acts as a moral arbiter in many cases.

Can't I just be tolerated?

A social circle that tolerates everything is unheard of. Ignoring that reality will only lead to you to ostracism, which is highly maladaptive. Instead, you can accept the social signals, and be a net benefit to your peers: the more that you are depended on, the greater your social standing. This is because past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior (assuming no significant change in circumstances). More of your peers will want to deal with you because people naturally have a preference for people whose behaviors are predictable and reliable.

"Never mind what people think of you"

This - along with the idea that everyone is a special snowflake - is a dangerous saying that is nefariously pushed in mainstream media to get their viewers to act in their immediate individual interests at the expense of their long-term group interests. The reason that humans engage in pro-social behaviors is because those who historically failed to do so also failed to reproduce. In other words, there is a strong genetic component at play. To ignore our natural social instincts is to ignore what has allowed us to survive as a people. In fact, children as early as 4 years of age care about their reputations; that's how innate it is: we respond to social signals before having been socialized.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are not to be misinterpreted as medical, clinical, or any other professional advice. The views expressed are opinions and / or ideas founded on research and clinical experience. These views are meant to provoke awareness and inquiry into various issues, and thus, create an open-minded dialogue, civil discussion, and respectful debate among our readers. Any claims made are subject to change should new studies be conducted that disprove these claims.

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