Posted: Apr 22, 2015 12:30 pm
by igorfrankensteen
I think this goes a long way toward explaining why people develop various -isms without much experience with the people in question. There is no contrasting need to form the associative category properly, so an inaccurate associative category forms pretty much automatically. This is depressing to me. It would mean that an -ism is the normal tendency of the brain, which has to be challenged. On the other hand, it explains a connection between mental effort and avoiding -isms.

I don't have the background you do, so I don't understand a lot of what you said. I looked up various things, and if I understood what I read, you are depressed at the idea that a physiological reason may be behind why people are jerks, essentially.

I suggest something else entirely, from my own "softer" field of History. That is, that humans ALWAYS tend to seek the easiest answers first, and the logical ones second, if at all. If this is linked to physiology or natural selection or any like mechanical thing, then it would only be in a general sense. Easy tends to be faster than difficult, and in survival situations, speed can be a factor, so perhaps the idea of coming to a conclusion and acting quickly as being "smart" has come to be ingrained in our species, at least culturally.

Note as well, how many prejudices develop: they don't spring into the minds of the anti-person all at once, they are built up a bit at a time. Catch an anti-person early enough, and their only explanation for why they are anti- someone else, will be "I feel oogy when I look at them." It's only later that they add in specifics.

And further, the motivation to add each specific in, often no longer is to explain why they feel oogy. They add many of the specifics in, so as to acquire "allies," and therefore enhance their sense of safety, and of being approved.

I have seen that "feeling you are Right" is possibly the strongest of all common human desires or emotional states. It gets tangled up in everything from feeling love from parents, to trusting mates and teammates.

The associations of neurons you refer to might indeed be the mechanism, but the reason that the mechanisms are engaged may be entirely different than you've listed, owing to being more complex, and to beginning much earlier in the individuals' development.