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The bad news on human nature, in 10 findings from psychology : Random Thoughts : Nigerialog.com - Nigeria's Premier Online Forum

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

By: dayan (M) |Time : December 07, 2018, 04:42:51 AM
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:

(1) 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. Another study showed that people who are opposed to Arab immigration tended to rate Arabs and Muslims as literally less evolved than average. Among other examples, there’s also evidence that young people dehumanise older people; and that men and women alike dehumanise drunk women. What’s more, the inclination to dehumanise starts early – children as young as five view out-group faces (of people from a different city or a different gender to the child) as less human than in-group faces.

(2) We experience Schadenfreude (pleasure at another person’s distress) by the age of four, according to a study from 2013. That sense is heightened if the child perceives that the person deserves the distress. A more recent study found that, by age six, children will pay to watch an antisocial puppet being hit, rather than spending the money on stickers.

(3) We believe in karma – assuming that the downtrodden of the world deserve their fate. The unfortunate consequences of such beliefs were first demonstrated in the now classic research from 1966 by the American psychologists Melvin Lerner and Carolyn Simmons. In their experiment, in which a female learner was punished with electric shocks for wrong answers, women participants subsequently rated her as less likeable and admirable when they heard that they would be seeing her suffer again, and especially if they felt powerless to minimise this suffering. Since then, research has shown our willingness to blame the poor, rape victims, AIDS patients and others for their fate, so as to preserve our belief in a just world. By extension, the same or similar processes are likely responsible for our subconscious rose-tinted view of rich people.

(4) We are blinkered and dogmatic. If people were rational and open-minded, then the straightforward way to correct someone’s false beliefs would be to present them with some relevant facts. However a classic study from 1979 showed the futility of this approach – participants who believed strongly for or against the death penalty completely ignored facts that undermined their position, actually doubling-down on their initial view. This seems to occur in part because we see opposing facts as undermining our sense of identity. It doesn’t help that many of us are overconfident about how much we understand things and that, when we believe our opinions are superior to others, this deters us from seeking out further relevant knowledge.

(5) We would rather electrocute ourselves than spend time in our own thoughts. This was demonstrated in a controversial 2014 study in which 67 per cent of male participants and 25 per cent of female participants opted to give themselves unpleasant electric shocks rather than spend 15 minutes in peaceful contemplation.

(6) We are vain and overconfident. Our irrationality and dogmatism might not be so bad were they married to some humility and self-insight, but most of us walk about with inflated views of our abilities and qualities, such as our driving skills, intelligence and attractiveness – a phenomenon that’s been dubbed the Lake Wobegon Effect after the fictional town where ‘all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average’. Ironically, the least skilled among us are the most prone to overconfidence (the so-called Dunning-Kruger effect). This vain self-enhancement seems to be most extreme and irrational in the case of our morality, such as in how principled and fair we think we are. In fact, even jailed criminals think they are kinder, more trustworthy and honest than the average member of the public.

(7) We are moral hypocrites. It pays to be wary of those who are the quickest and loudest in condemning the moral failings of others – the chances are that moral preachers are as guilty themselves, but take a far lighter view of their own transgressions. In one study, researchers found that people rated the exact same selfish behaviour (giving themselves the quicker and easier of two experimental tasks on offer) as being far less fair when perpetuated by others. Similarly, there is a long-studied phenomenon known as actor-observer asymmetry, which in part describes our tendency to attribute other people’s bad deeds, such as our partner’s infidelities, to their character, while attributing the same deeds performed by ourselves to the situation at hand. These self-serving double standards could even explain the common feeling that incivility is on the increase – recent research shows that we view the same acts of rudeness far more harshly when they are committed by strangers than by our friends or ourselves.

(8,) We are all potential trolls. As anyone who has found themselves in a spat on Twitter will attest, social media might be magnifying some of the worst aspects of human nature, in part due to the online disinhibition effect, and the fact that anonymity (easy to achieve online) is known to increase our inclinations for immorality. While research has suggested that people who are prone to everyday sadism (a worryingly high proportion of us) are especially inclined to online trolling, a study published last year revealed how being in a bad mood, and being exposed to trolling by others, double the likelihood of a person engaging in trolling themselves. In fact, initial trolling by a few can cause a snowball of increasing negativity, which is exactly what researchers found when they studied reader discussion on CNN.com, with the ‘proportion of flagged posts and proportion of users with flagged posts … rising over time’.

(9) We favour ineffective leaders with psychopathic traits. The American personality psychologist Dan McAdams recently concluded that the US President Donald Trump’s overt aggression and insults have a ‘primal appeal’, and that his ‘incendiary Tweets’ are like the ‘charging displays’ of an alpha male chimp, ‘designed to intimidate’. If McAdams’s assessment is true, it would fit into a wider pattern – the finding that psychopathic traits are more common than average among leaders. Take the survey of financial leaders in New York that found they scored highly on psychopathic traits but lower than average in emotional intelligence. A meta-analysis published this summer concluded that there is indeed a modest but significant link between higher trait psychopathy and gaining leadership positions, which is important since psychopathy also correlates with poorer leadership.

(10) We are sexually attracted to people with dark personality traits. Not only do we elect people with psychopathic traits to become our leaders, evidence suggests that men and women are sexually attracted, at least in the short term, to people displaying the so-called ‘dark triad’ of traits – narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism – thus risking further propagating these traits. One study found that a man’s physical attractiveness to women was increased when he was described as self-interested, manipulative and insensitive. One theory is that the dark traits successfully communicate ‘mate quality’ in terms of confidence and the willingness to take risks. Does this matter for the future of our species? Perhaps it does – another paper, from 2016, found that those women who were more strongly attracted to narcissistic men’s faces tended to have more children.

Don’t get too down – these findings say nothing of the success that some of us have had in overcoming our baser instincts. In fact, it is arguably by acknowledging and understanding our shortcomings that we can more successfully overcome them, and so cultivate the better angels of our nature.

This is an adaptation of an article originally published by The British Psychological Society’s Research Digest.

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

By: dayan (M) |Time : December 07, 2018, 04:48:46 AM
This article is beautiful, provocative, and controversial hence my interest in it.
It is beautiful in the sense that it tried to cast a wide net on human character, and to a certain extent is correct.
I would say that it presents a very good moral and character template on which anyone can measure himself or herself.
Next is to discuss parts of it and my opinions on them...

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

By: dayan (M) |Time : December 07, 2018, 04:55:18 AM
The first thing I need to say is that ALL my views on Nigerialog.com are my real life views.  8)
If you see me face to face ANYWHERE on earth, I would say EXACTLY the same things. I self-censor myself in many ways, but I never say what I would not say face to face. FACT.

With that being said...

I would first do a self examination ( a very honest one) to measure myself against each of the traits listed above. Finally I will comment on "take away" thoughts and lessons.

I encourage whoever reads this to join the conversation by doing the same self appraisal here.
If you are worried about your identity, you can open another truly anonymous account (just using email and username instead of your facebook or other identifying names) and say your mind. We don't share user information with ANYBODY.

So,here I go...

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

By: dayan (M) |Time : December 07, 2018, 05:04:33 AM
Quote
(1) We view minorities and the vulnerable as less than human:

My honest mindset towards minorities and vulnerable people is one of EMPATHY.
I never try to see them as "less human" or less than myself. The only way I "judge" them is to imagine myself in their shoes.
I hold the view that minorities should not really hold presidential position because the majorities would NEVER allow them to perform well in office. The evidence is there throughout history. If a country, however, has a system in place that removes the tyranny of the majority, I would support a minority candidate in a heartbeat.
I would do so mainly because I tell myself that I could have come into this world "a minority".
That is why empathy is my only guide in these things. I don't even blame drug addicts because I believe that this world is a very difficult deep and dark place. I may be the only light such person encounters on a given day; so why waste that opportunity on blames? Makes no sense to me.

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

By: dayan (M) |Time : December 07, 2018, 05:17:28 AM
Quote
We experience Schadenfreude (pleasure at another person’s distress) by the age of four,

Now this is one trait that nearly all humans have. I personally only have it when the misfortune is on a person I adjudge very bad. For example, the day I read that Evans the kidnapper was captured, I felt a special joy and even wanted to drink to it. It was his misfortune, but I figured that Nigerians would be a little safer now that he was behind bars. If anybody is sworn to harm people unnecessarily, why would I mourn his misfortune?
But if the victim is just a rival, I battle with it and then take dominion to not rejoice. The first "basal instinct" would be one of joy, but then I quickly insert myself in the person's shoes to rein myself in. All these happen in less than 30 seconds. When I was younger it used to take longer, but it has gotten much easier now.
I believe that spiritual growth is impossible when I rejoice in other person's misfortune. Except in instances involving Evans the kidnapper, or Shekau of Boko Haram, of course.   8)

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

By: dayan (M) |Time : December 07, 2018, 05:29:17 AM
Quote
We believe in karma – assuming that the downtrodden of the world deserve their fate.

I do not really believe in Karma. I believe in God's judgement, which is ever sure.
Those who believe in Karma miss a lot of life's realities. It is safer to believe in God's judgement because his judgements are perfect. If you watch carefully the events happening on this earth, you would see God's judgement EVERYWHERE. People may choose not to notice them, but it changes nothing.

I believe that ALL humans face God's judgement. That is why a rich and powerful person may have a problem that a poor and powerless person would never have, or even know about. The rich man may even prefer to give away all his wealth just to get a relief from that God's judgement, but he can't!  This happens all the time.
God's judgement is mysterious and never conforms to human judgement.
That is why you see a person known by all to be a "bad person", but then God may bless the person in ways that baffle everyone. That is exactly why Jesus commanded that people should not judge others. "For the measure you give is the measure you get...".


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

By: dayan (M) |Time : December 07, 2018, 05:34:27 AM
Quote
We are blinkered and dogmatic.

I believe in the saying that "the only thing I know is that I know nothing".
This really informs a lot of my opinions. I am ever ready to debate ANYONE (though most visitors here mysteriously fail to debate). Dogma is one of the greatest threats to free and open society.
My opinions are mine; they are not final. I can change them ANYTIME.  8)

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

By: dayan (M) |Time : December 07, 2018, 05:39:22 AM
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We would rather electrocute ourselves than spend time in our own thoughts.

In other words people are averse to "REFLECTION". They take position but don't actually THINK about it before taking the position. That is NOT me. My opinions are products of deep introspection and long term thought process.
A lot of my views come to me when I'm in deep thoughts. Sometimes I forget a lot of the points before I get to the computer to type.  :)) :-

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

By: dayan (M) |Time : December 07, 2018, 05:45:37 AM
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We are vain and overconfident.

Vain? Nope.
Overconfident? Maybe in certain ways, for instance in my strong beliefs on right and wrong.
I suspect that I would not be easily persuaded to drop my strong aversion to injustice, and I go waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out of my way to ensure that nobody feels cheated or "oppressed" by me.
This has led to many instances whereby people think that I'm a fool for allowing them "use" me.
They don't understand that I'm only trying not to oppress them. I would rather that they think I'm a fool than that they get hurt emotionally because of my actions. I know I'm not a fool, so that settles my side. But you cannot be sure of how they feel about your actions towards them. So, I stay "foolish", but that's ok.  :))

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

By: dayan (M) |Time : December 07, 2018, 05:54:24 AM
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We are moral hypocrites

I am not a moral hypocrite and some of my core beliefs, (the ones I hold inside me) are too "sophisticated" to be shared in an open forum like this. They go this way "if nobody is hurt, then it cannot be wrong".  I hold that view because it makes moral sense. But those views really focus on me CONSTANTLY judging myself and giving others a "by" rather than judging them. I may judge others occasionally in the sense that if a man hounds a girl into marriage and she was never attracted to him, I would not support him the day he starts crying about her cheating.
And I would take her side if he starts beating her. Yep that is my view.
If I say that people should not steal Nigeria's money, it means that I would NEVER steal any public funds entrusted into my care, in this life or next. For this reason, I only really start condemning public servants when they fail to deliver even basic things to the people. I am the type that if public servants actually deliver basic things (electricity, water, healthcare, schools, security etc) , I would not even pay attention to their theft. 
That's just me.

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

By: dayan (M) |Time : December 07, 2018, 05:57:57 AM
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(8,) We are all potential trolls.

I believe that trolls come straight from satan's backyard. But I still pity trolls because I see them as sad and bitter souls. Trolling is the ultimate farming of societal wickedness. It secretly blames society for the troll's sad life outcomes. I would never troll anyone because it is OPPOSITE of who I am.

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

By: dayan (M) |Time : December 07, 2018, 06:03:32 AM
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9) We favour ineffective leaders with psychopathic traits.

I would never support an ineffective leader with psychopathic traits. If I supported them even remotely prior to their exhibition of such behaviours I would stop supporting them after they do even if I personally benefit.
I share in the views of US Senator Lindsey Graham who said that he was a friend of Mohammed Bin Salman of Saudi Arab BEFORE it was found that he had a hand in the murder of Khashoggi the US resident journalist. Graham then vowed to "come down on MBS like a ton of bricks". Yes I can switch fast away from a leader if he turns evil after supporting him or her during elections. Evil is evil.
All decent humans are averse to evil.

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

By: dayan (M) |Time : December 07, 2018, 06:08:25 AM
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We are sexually attracted to people with dark personality traits.

This is not clear enough. If it means am I attracted to wicked or mean women, the answer is a big fat NO.
Compassion and intelligence (both brains, and social intelligence) are the two most sexually attractive qualities, for me. I have "made love" to some of the most intelligent women in the world, just reading their opinions or watching them deliver lectures. Now, that is supposed to be a secret!  ;D ;D  8) :- :- please hush!  :- :-

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

By: dayan (M) |Time : December 07, 2018, 06:11:17 AM
So, I guess that this article must not really be talking about people like me.
Prove me wrong though.  8)

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

By: alagbe003 (M) |Time : December 07, 2018, 09:05:35 AM
This article is mind boggling and debatable, it might cut across a large percentage of human population as their dark traits but definitely not all humans.
Human beings have individual differences, even identical twins have different characters.

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