Posts Tagged ‘culture’

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The latest rap battle Robert Foster has done. This time it is between Lord Monckton, the climate change sceptic, and Al Gore, the climate change champion. They discuss climate change in another creative creation by Robert Foster. This is my personal favorite.

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I found this article on Science Daily that says that social scientists are collecting a large body of evidence that we are evolving into a more cooperative and humane species. It is obvious now that it’s being mentioned; strategically, it makes perfect sense to cooperate because not only do you gain a friend that will feel a need to return the favor (read Robert Cialdini Influence for some insights into reciprocity) but you show that you can be trusted to become part of whatever group you are working with.

To further argue their point I think it’s amusing that economists or people who have studied economics are less prone to cooperate than those who have not studied economics or are economists! I found the source in a game theory book published by an economist and I will update the post with the book title and author.

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I got a few things from this dissertation.

It has been suggested that behavior previously thought to be automatic is not automatic and behavior thought not to be automatic in fact is. For example, Folk, Remington and Wright said in 1994 that distractions that automatically catches people’s attention only succeeds if the distractions characteristics is closely related to the stimuli that is part of the activity that is engaged or part of that person. In other words, people of different ethnicity is perceived to look the same if they are seen as a different ethnicity, as opposed to just another human being. Connected to this is the fact that babies will react negatively to faces of another ethnicity if they have not been exposed to different ethnicities before some crucial months of the baby’s life. This isn’t part of the dissertation but I’m trying to connect a few pieces of the puzzle.

If a new-born is not exposed to humans of different color before a crucial first months of their life (I don’t actually remember how many months, but presumably around the time when they can distinguish between faces) they will have negative physiological reactions to people that have other skin colors. This is likely a out-dated survival instict and is most surely one of the reasons why some ethnic groups can alienate and make other ethnic groups into sub-humans in order to attack and kill them. There is some truth in the fact that some people are unable to properly discern between faces of other ethnic groups – they were only exposed to faces of their own ethnic group and thus think that ethnic group is a threat.

Interesting research is (Simon, D.J., & Levin, D.T. (1998) “Failure to detect changes in people during a real world interaction. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review”, 5, 644-649).

This means that racism is cultural and immensely ingrained in people and their perception of the world. This also means that the only way to remove racism is to expose newly born to “other faces”. Every new generation that comes into the world can thus either increase or decrease racism simply by being exposed to human beings with other appearances than their parents.

Another interesting thing is that science shows us why it is counter-productive to “try to be happy”.

Remember any time when you tried to fall asleep (your focus was on the thought “sleep”) and thoughts comes up that goes “I’m so NOT tired right now” and “Why can’t I fall asleep”, etc. Our brains are amazing, because they actually help us focus on what we want “sleep” by showing us everything that oppose it.

You can for example not know light if you do not know darkness; so our brain is sustaining “sleep” by creating “I am not tired”. So “try to be happy” will needlessly create “Life sucks”, “I have not what I want” and everything else that potentially makes you unhappy.

Consider any sport where you think “do not miss”, the innevitable result is more often than not that we do miss!

An additional thing that the dissertation taught me was that athletes show greater general ability to concentrate than those who are not engaged in physical activity. So physical activity makes our general concentration better.

Yet another thing was that when out running, runners were more tired when they thought that the run was almost over (when it was 8 minutes left) than if the runner thought that there was quite a lot of running left (say 16 minutes). In other words, we do not focus on how tired we are if we know there is a lot left.

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