Researchers found that people find those who are more likely to break the rules more likeable, even after meeting them for just a short time.
They found that the people who achieve popularity by defying authority all tend to carry a specific “rebel” gene.
The findings could explain how Just William inspired the devotion of his bunch of Outlaws in the famous novels and why children labelled “teachers’ pets” have traditionally attracted the attention of bullies.
“The idea is that your genes predispose you to certain behaviours and those behaviours elicit different kinds of social reactions from others,” said Alexandra Burt, assistant professor of psychology at Michigan State University.
“And so what’s happening is, your genes are to some extent driving your social experiences.
“So the gene predisposes (people) to rule-breaking behaviour and their rule-breaking behaviour made them more popular,” Burt said.