The bad news on human nature, in 10 findings from psychology

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The bad news on human nature, in 10 findings from psychology

Christian Jarrett is a cognitive neuroscientist turned science writer, whose work has appeared in New Scientist, The Guardian and Psychology Today, among others.

Quote:It’s a question that’s reverberated through the ages – are humans, though imperfect, essentially kind, sensible, good-natured creatures? Or are we, deep down, wired to be bad, blinkered, idle, vain, vengeful and selfish? There are no easy answers, and there’s clearly a lot of variation between individuals, but here we shine some evidence-based light on the matter through 10 dispiriting findings that reveal the darker and less impressive aspects of human nature: 

We view minorities and the vulnerable as less than human. One striking example of this blatant dehumanisation came from a brain-scan study that found a small group of students exhibited less neural activity associated with thinking about people when they looked at pictures of the homeless or of drug addicts, as compared with higher-status individuals. (...)
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Yeah but we’re still lovely really.  Wink
Oh my God, I hate all this.   Surprise
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Thanks. That's interesting, but nowadays it's difficult to read any article about "what psychology studies show" without wondering whether the results are replicable!

The study cited in support of the statement "We would rather electrocute ourselves than spend time in our own thoughts" is described as "controversial". I wondered what this meant, and had a look. The original paper is here:
https://www.researchgate.net/publication...gaged_mind
and a criticism is here:
https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10....01427/full

The critic argues that even the more nuanced conclusions of the authors of the study weren't justified by their data. Given that only a minority elected to receive an electric shock, the one-sentence summary in this article certainly seems inaccurate. That makes me wonder about the accuracy of his summaries of the other studies ...
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(2018-12-16, 08:15 AM)Stan Woolley Wrote: Yeah but we’re still lovely really.  Wink

Yeah, like, once you get to know us, we'll kill your planet and wipe out all your other species. Big Grin Sad

(Sorry, just had my first half of a night's sleep, had a bit more of cough syrup for a cold, not back to bed for the second half.)
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(2018-12-16, 08:29 AM)Chris Wrote: Thanks. That's interesting, but nowadays it's difficult to read any article about "what psychology studies show" without wondering whether the results are replicable!

The study cited in support of the statement "We would rather electrocute ourselves than spend time in our own thoughts" is described as "controversial". I wondered what this meant, and had a look. The original paper is here:
https://www.researchgate.net/publication...gaged_mind
and a criticism is here:
https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10....01427/full

The critic argues that even the more nuanced conclusions of the authors of the study weren't justified by their data. Given that only a minority elected to receive an electric shock, the one-sentence summary in this article certainly seems inaccurate. That makes me wonder about the accuracy of his summaries of the other studies ...
So what you're saying Chris is that that, ironically, amounts to an 11th negative finding us that corroborates the others: we're too dumb, vain or money-driven to bother publishing studies that can be replicated... Wink
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(2018-12-16, 12:18 PM)Ninshub Wrote: So what you're saying Chris is that that, ironically, amounts to an 11th negative finding us that corroborates the others: we're too dumb, vain or money-driven to bother publishing studies that can be replicated... Wink

No - I just think that the author of that article might have been a bit biased in his selection and presentation of evidence.
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(2018-12-16, 01:09 PM)Chris Wrote: No - I just think that the author of that article might have been a bit biased in his selection and presentation of evidence.

I would agree with your criticism  of the selection of evidence. The problems of homelessness and addiction.can easily be seen as overwhelming. Leading the average person to a sense of hopelessness. Especially in comparison to the affluent.
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Then there's this ...

Alternative Human Nature: Why Kindness and Cooperation are More Natural Than Selfishness

Quote:For a long time, there has been a general assumption in our culture that “human nature” is essentially bad. Human beings — so it has been assumed — are strongly disposed to traits like selfishness, domination, and warfare. We have powerful natural impulses to compete with one another for resources, and to try to accumulate power and possessions. If we are kind, it’s usually because we have ulterior motives. If we are good, it’s only because we have managed to control and transcend our natural selfishness and brutality.

This view of human nature has been justified by biological theories like the “selfish gene” (as popularised by the UK science writer Richard Dawkins) and the field of evolutionary psychology. Evolutionary psychology describes how present-day human traits developed in prehistoric times, during what is termed the “environment of evolutionary adaptedness” (EEA). The EEA is usually seen as a period of intense competition, when life was a kind of Roman gladiatorial battle in which only the traits that gave people a survival advantage were selected, and all others fell by the wayside.
I do not make any clear distinction between mind and God. God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension.
Freeman Dyson
(This post was last modified: 2018-12-17, 05:56 AM by Kamarling.)
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I was looking for an "alternative" story/article, Kam - glad you have one!
(This post was last modified: 2018-12-17, 04:05 AM by Ninshub.)
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(2018-12-17, 03:09 AM)Kamarling Wrote: The there's this ...

Alternative Human Nature: Why Kindness and Cooperation are More Natural Than Selfishness
Quote:For a long time, there has been a general assumption in our culture that “human nature” is essentially bad. Human beings — so it has been assumed — are strongly disposed to traits like selfishness, domination, and warfare. We have powerful natural impulses to compete with one another for resources, and to try to accumulate power and possessions. If we are kind, it’s usually because we have ulterior motives. If we are good, it’s only because we have managed to control and transcend our natural selfishness and brutality.

This view of human nature has been justified by biological theories like the “selfish gene” (as popularised by the UK science writer Richard Dawkins) and the field of evolutionary psychology. Evolutionary psychology describes how present-day human traits developed in prehistoric times, during what is termed the “environment of evolutionary adaptedness” (EEA). The EEA is usually seen as a period of intense competition, when life was a kind of Roman gladiatorial battle in which only the traits that gave people a survival advantage were selected, and all others fell by the wayside.

The domination theory would be true if the majority of humans were psychopaths and sociopaths, but a majority certainly are not, so...
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”
~ Carl Jung


(This post was last modified: 2018-12-17, 04:30 AM by Valmar.)
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