Sunday SciKu | Vandals Took the Handles

With a possible submission from the obvious department, University College London ran a study demonstrating that vandalism is a response to social inequality. (Link in the comments.) They had teams of participants compete in the video game Parklife. In half of the games, one group was given an unfair advantage, which became obvious as the game progressed, leading to frustration and ultimately to spontaneously coordinated acts of vandalism from the disadvantaged team.

What was interesting is that this occurred regardless of the psychological makeup of the team members, showing evidence against the “one bad apple” hypothesis, which says that riots are started by individuals who are already prone to destructive behavior. It seems to have more to do with our sense of fairness and group identity.

The topic reminds me of a lot of the hiking areas down in the foothills of our mountains. What were once the most beautiful trails are just covered in trash and graffiti, even the trees. But of course vandalized trees are nothing new.


over the heart
carved in an old oak
new graffiti


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