The Peculiarities of Cynical Hostility

Topic: Psychology and Personality
Words: 388 Pages: 4


Cynical hostility can be detrimental to an individual’s income. Cynical hostile beliefs about human nature impact an individual’s income negatively. Cynical individuals tend to be less corporative and hence more likely to miss opportunities that can increase their income (Stavrova & Ehlebracht, 2016). They are less likely to enjoy the benefits of mutual help and joint efforts. This research presents the underlying mechanisms of why this is true. It does so by exploring the links between income and cynicism cross-culturally.

While contemporary literature highlights how negative outcomes are linked with cynical beliefs, this research digs deep to explain the mechanism that links cynical beliefs to income. For example, provided the negative impact of cynics on health, the health status of cynic individuals may prevent them from generating more income (Stavrova & Ehlebracht, 2016). The innate suspiciousness and tendency to misinterpret intentions in a negative way, typical of cynics, limits their opportunities.

Methodology and Findings

The report used data from participants in the Americans’ Changing Lives Survey. The measurements are done using a four-item version of the cynical distrust scale developed by Crook-Medley. The results indicate that cynical persons had lower earnings and cynicism was equally negatively linked with education (Stavrova & Ehlebracht, 2016). This research is the first evidence of the longitudinal impact of cynical beliefs on earning. More importantly, the report discovers that the link between income and cynicism remained even when participants’ differences in self-esteem were controlled.

Even though methodological issues like income underreporting may have misled the results, there is no reason to believe that cynical individuals might have underreported their income. This is because the results from across different modes of data collection were consistent (Stavrova & Ehlebracht, 2016). Cynical participants would likely underreport their income given their suspiciousness and as a show of self-deprecation, typical of cynics. This generates the need for examining the link between personality traits and income reporting.


The question of malevolence versus benevolence has remained a debate that has captured philosophers’ attention across time. Stavrova and Ehlebracht (2016) identify self-interest and hostility as the defining characteristics of human nature. In contrast, other philosophers believe that human beings are naturally good and strive to live in harmony. The question of how people fifer in their beliefs spurs debate and has been a topic of study across different disciplines.


Stavrova, O., & Ehlebracht, D. (2016). Cynical beliefs about human nature and income: Longitudinal and cross-cultural analyses. Journal of personality and social psychology, 110(1), 116.

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