Discover the official composite portrait of the "Douchbag"
A team of American researchers recently wondered about the characteristics implicit in this expletive that calls a person a cretin, annoying and imbecile.
What do you think of when you use the term "Douchbag " to refer to someone? This is the question that motivated a team of researchers from the University of Georgia, United States. His work, recently published in the journal Collabra: Psychology, might surprise you.
Insults convey information about the speaker's perception of the target's personality, they say in the preamble to their study.
To more accurately identify what most people mean by the term jerk, they interviewed nearly 400 people, who had to describe the "biggest jerk" they had ever met. They then analyzed the answers to identify the common characteristics of those so qualified.
Who are the "Douchbag"?
Most of the targets of the insult were seen as manipulative, aggressive and taking it all in. "People really didn't have a hard time figuring out who was the 'biggest jerk of their lives,'" said Brinkley Sharpe, lead author of the study.
Almost half of the "Douchbag" in question were former romantic partners of the participants, former bosses or distant relatives. "In general, the participants did not consider themselves very close to these individuals, which is logical, since these people are described as having quite disgusting behaviors," the researcher specifies.
However, a third of the "biggest idiots" were people in the participants' daily lives, such as co-workers, friends, and even current romantic partners.
What did they do to deserve this qualification?
Study participants were also asked to describe the top three behaviors that make someone a "Douchbag." The researchers asked them different questions: Do you think this person knows that his behavior annoys others? Do you think this person cares that his behavior annoys others? And do you think that person could change her behavior if they really wanted to?
For most of the respondents, the "Douchbag" are aware that their behavior annoys people, but they don't care enough to make an effort.
When it comes to personality, the idiot has been described as unpleasant and angry, says Brinkley Sharpe.
In some cases, the people portrayed were also "irresponsible" or had "intolerant views".
Researchers have finally found that this qualifier is used in a wide variety of situations. "I think the implication of the study is that slurs matter, he continues. We mean certain things when we use them or associate them with certain characteristics," concludes Brinkley Sharpe.