The Surprising Psychology Behind Your Urge to Break the Rules | Paul Bloom | TED

Published 2023-03-20
We all experience it: that desire to do something wrong just for the sake of it. Whether it's walking on manicured grass or sticking your finger in a friend's ice cream, psychologist Paul Bloom invites us to see the clever, creative and beautiful side of these minor impulses to do bad. He dives into the psychology behind this all-too-human condition -- and proposes that it helps make our world a little more unpredictable and fun.

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All Comments (21)
  • Thank you, Paul! In my journey of recovery from mental illness my therapist inspired in me, a Pollyanna’s view of the world! This teaching set me up for failure by thinking that everybody was good, and only had good intentions. I wish I’d heard this talk 30 years ago. Thank you, Paul. Loved “Psych” too… My thinking is reframed!
  • @Sylar-451
    Thanks Paul, just gave me a little more motivation to continue writing my choas inspired book about either helping others or watching the world burn.

    Great talk, recently listened to Paul Bloom and Sam Harris on a podcast about empathy too. Was very interesting
  • I think this is important because everytime someone does something bad, people always excuse them "oh it's because they were abused as a child" or "hurt people hurt people". I don't think this is entirely false either, but saying that no one is perverted or enjoy hurting others is just a lie and distorsion of reality.
  • "Telling people: 'What you do is stupid, irrational, immoral' can have the paradoxical effect of motivating them to do exactly what you don't want them to do."
  • @Phoe8D
    Paul Bloom, a good speaker and teacher. I always find what he talks about interesting. I used to watch his university lessons on YouTube
  • @funnytv-1631
    It may seem counter-intuitive, but imagine what would happen if you claimed the identity of your ideal self. Even if you aren't there yet.

    What if you thought of yourself as a fit person on the inside, even while you bring that into being? Don't think of yourself as someone who has to walk, think of yourself as someone-who-walks.

    Once you take on an identity, you’ve given yourself an internal source of fuel.
  • @beldonhuang
    What a fascinating talk! There is also another talk by him, which I also found quite interesting, called "The Origins of Pleasure". So much so that even made a video based on it! Highly recommend
  • @Funkopartner
    I honestly only do stuff like this because it genuinely brings me a feeling of joy and catharsis
  • @Romie15
    Thank you! I listened to an interview Paul Bloom did in Modern Wisdom podcast and I had to look up his TED talk. Paul Bloom is both very knowledgable and funny
  • @mrblablo1
    Being told not to tell people what to do because they'll do the opposite makes me want to do the opposite of what you told me to do.
  • @oliver6611
    Firstly, Decision fatigue and moral licencing are large contributors towards rule-breaking in an otherwise rule-abiding neurotypical individual.
    Second, (and perhaps more prevalent) is psychopathology & neuroses. Then, there is a combination of both.

    +1 PB
  • @edi9892
    Really an interesting talk. As an Austrian, I really got a thing for malicious compliance... There's no bigger joy for me than to show people how stupid certain laws or orders are and bonus points if someone can be coaxed into a discussion or making a decision, where he only has bad options unless he accepts that his values are stupid... (like that one legend who pretended to be a tr@ns woman with giant br3asts and deliberately became an embarrassment so that he got paid to do nothing!)
    I got quite an inhibition in destroying beautiful things, rare things, or very old things, but as a kid, I did engage in vandalism, but that was targeting things that already offended me in my anarchistic sense of beauty... Besides the malicious compliance, the one thing that I need to watch out for is the joy of manipulating others and corrupting them in petty ways. The most harmless example is to get someone to laugh at a politically incorrect joke, but it can take a dark turn pretty fast...
    Thus, thinking about it, it's mostly a reactionary desire to fight back against a culture I cannot identify myself with, especially when it feels oppressive or stupid. Moreover, showcasing hypocrisy is clearly a big part of the joy, besides breaking the taboo by proxy...
  • @soberhippie
    Once, when we were children, a friend of mine bought a cone of ice cream. I made the arm movement that, if unchecked, would have knocked the ice cream out if his hand, but my intent was just to threaten, to cause a bit of anxiety, so i stopped my hand centimetres away from the actual cone. However, my friend automatically squeezed the cone so hard, that the ice cream slipped out of it. It was quite funny
  • @Christina-sf4py
    Aussie here. My rebel inside is becoming more active because australia has become a horrible nanny state. It enraged me because those that make laws are assuming we are all stupid naughty children. I see the point in obeying good logical laws but someone..especially someone who thinks they are superior to those they rule are insufferable and a joy to oppose !
  • @johnl2376
    Weird I use this chaos scale to do good instead of evil, example when someone tells me I would never pass the test I would study twice as hard just to prove them wrong.
  • “I am the girl who spends hours huddled in a corner of a library, trying to find what you love the most about Marlowe, just so I can write you a poem worthy of Shakespeare. I've made books my lovers, hours my enemies and you the only story.”
  • @SanyaGrosh
    Can someone recommend more reading on this topic? Thank youuuu