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People With Visible Tattoos Tend To Be More 'Reckless' And 'Impulsive', Study Says

caitlyn.clancey 12 Sep 2019

There once was a time when getting tattoos was a major social taboo. People just couldn't understand the decision to sit down and voluntarily be poked by a needle until your skin resembles something more akin to a comic strip.

But thankfully, we've come a long way, and people now tend to recognize tattooing as an art form and a means of expression. Besides, as long as you love your own ink, what does it matter what anyone else thinks about it?

However, a new study is insisting that those of us who choose to get tattoos are more prone to making rash decisions than our ink-less counterparts.

A group of economists from McMaster University recently conducted a survey with the goal of determining why tattoos have become so popular.

Unsplash | Annie Spratt

According to Vancouver Sun, those people behind the study don't understand the recent surge in tattooing, since the practice has historically been "largely reserved for criminals, sailors, and circus freaks."

"From an economic perspective, this decision to have a tattoo is puzzling," Bradley Ruffle of McMaster University said. "Tattoos are about making some kind of statement. But why not just dye your hair or get a personalized T-shirt you can remove?"

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More than 1,000 people were surveyed as part of the study, 255 with tattoos and 781 without any.

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Of those who were inked, 68 of them had tattoos which were visible, even while they were clothed.

As part of the survey, the economists conducted a monetary test to see which contestants exhibited long-term planning capabilities. They offered a greater payday for participants, if they waited just a bit longer to get their money: $1.05 after 18 hours, or $2.50 after three weeks.

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Apparently, the non-tattooed contestants realized fairly early on that caution was key in this study, so they opted to wait for the larger sum.

Unsplash | Najib Kalil

Those with visible ink, however, were not so quick to choose the longer, albeit more monetarily rewarding, option.

Based on this, the authors believed those with the visible tattoos were not thinking things through fully and didn't weigh the consequences of both options.

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Participants were also asked a few different questions as part of the study.

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When faced with simple logic questions, the participants with tattoos answered the questions quickly and impulsively, rather than their non-tatted peers.

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From this, the economists concluded that people with tattoos, specifically visible ones, are more 'reckless' and 'impulsive.'

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They believe their study shows that those with ink are more likely to make rash decisions without considering the full range of consequences of those decisions.

People without tattoos, however, are less willing to act without thinking rationally.

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Canadian economist are McMaster professor Bradley Ruffle said he hopes the study makes people think twice before getting inked.

Unsplash | Annie Spratt

However, he did add that these impulsive decision-making traits aren't always a bad thing.

"Sometimes it's good to make decisions fast," he told New York Post. "If you're a professional basketball player and you need to decide whether to shoot or pass, you don't want someone who stands there and deliberates."

h/t: Vancouver Sun, New York Post

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