Study: Here’s why people do stupid things

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Jim Carrey, left, and Jeff Daniels in a scene from "Dumb and Dumber To." (AP Photo/Universal Pictures, Hopper Stone)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — What exactly makes people do stupid things?

According to a new study out of Budapest, there’s a scientific answer.

Researchers analyzed the criteria people used to determine a particular behavior as stupid. As it turns out, judging whether something is stupid “comes instantaneously”.

“If one person calls something stupid, there’s a high likelihood others will do the same thing,” researcher Aczél Balázs said.

The study found that stupid behavior stems from 3 primary conditions:

  • Overconfidence: Described as “confident ignorance” or when someone is overconfident about their ability to do something.
  • Lack of control: When you know you shouldn’t do something, but you do it anyway.
  • Absent-mindedness: You weren’t paying attention, or simply didn’t know what you were doing.

Balázs told Live Science that not only do we recognize stupid behaviors when we see them, but we also “want to watch other people doing something stupid as a source of amusement.”

And it’s not just unintelligent people who act stupidly.

The study confirmed that even people with extremely high IQs can still make bone-headed moves.

To prevent stupid behavior, Balázs suggests calling someone out for their overconfidence, lack of control or absent-mindedness instead of simply referring to them as dumb.

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