Thursday, February 13, 2014

if only the cathedral could stop bellyaching, get off its ass, and find something useful to do...,


physorg | "This study tests the model that the mind cares about physical features only to the extent that they suggest social relationships," explained Pietraszewski. "It shows that the reason the mind attends to race at all is to keep track of people's affiliations. When race proves not to be a factor, the alliance detection system attends to it only minimally, if at all."

"The method we used is entirely unobtrusive," said Tooby. "People don't know what you're measuring, and they couldn't control it even if they did. It shows the principles by which you're categorizing people implicitly. In and of itself, implicitly assigning people to racial categories is not racism. But if you combine the tendency to categorize by race with a negative evaluation, that is racism."

According to Tooby, when race does not predict who's on what side of an issue or who's supporting whom, the mind discards it as an element for identifying alliances. "Traditionally, the general impression people had was that when you learn to be racist, it gets deeply inscribed and sneaks out in subtle ways and it's slow to change," he explained. "One of the striking implications of this research is that the tendency to categorize by race is easy to eliminate.

"The common-sense interpretation of why you see racial categories in the world is because different kinds of people exist, and they look different from each other. Therefore, just like you pick up differences between pears and peaches, you pick up different races in the world," continued Tooby. "But at the genetic level the differences are really hard to see. It's just not the case that people of one race have a large series of genes that people from another race lack; you just don't see that."

The question then becomes why racial differences are so visually salient to people. "We see race in the world because patterns of alliance and cooperation have trained us to sort people into categories that way," he said. "And this training requires that our visual systems pick up tiny differences and amplify them until what we see matches the alliance structure of our social world. Young children are often surprised when adults describe players on their favorite team as being of a different race. They don't see it."

"This research suggests that our minds retrieve race because it predicts alliances in our social world," said Cosmides. "When other cues predict cooperative alliances better, the mind reduces its reliance on racial categories. That's why we refer to the content of your cooperation, not the color of your skin."

For years, she added, social scientists have tried unsuccessfully to identify social situations that decrease the extent to which people categorize others by race. "One of the reasons people had assumed it was so difficult is because it's supported by these perceptual differences," she said. "But we also show that when you have purely perceptual categories—like wearing red shirts versus yellow shirts—and when shirt color doesn't mean anything about coalitions or social differences, people barely pick it up, or they don't pick it up at all. You can't just say people categorize others by skin color because their visual system can't help it."

If categorizing individuals by race is a reversible product of a cognitive system specialized for detecting alliance categories, changing behavior might have more powerful effects than changing minds, the researchers said. "Many people assume you need to change how people think about racial issues to eliminate racism," Cosmides explained. "This research suggests that if cooperation across racial lines continues to increase in our society, our tendency to think about people in racial terms will fall away. Cooperation should change how people think."

15 comments:

Vic78 said...

Then you throw in food, rent, gas, clothes, electric bill, insurance, and fees; we see that 35,000 not mean a whole lot. I see why they keep David Brooks around.

Vic78 said...

You see that in sports and the military. So, they needed a study to tell us that people overlook differences when they cooperate?

CNu said...

Top lives off the yield of the bottom. The top doesn't want to subsidize a safety net for a population which it views as unproductive surplus labor. The only viable model is what Cuba has done where they emphasize world class healthcare and education, and since the collapse of the soviet union, food self-sufficiency with intensive urban agriculture.

Honestly, I don't see anybody throwing in a plugged nickel to subsidize the continuing consumption of these people. Problem for the potato heads is that until you've softened them up something fierce, unsubsidized peasants at loose ends are a hazard to your continued health. They do things like shooting at transformers with AK-47's and other bad behaviors which make orderly governance and stability increasingly difficult if not impossible.

CNu said...

Somebody has to step up and develop the science to counteract the pseudo-science of the human biodiversity contingent who would have you believe that they're onto species forks and that political and economic policies should reflect that "fact".

Vic78 said...

That'll hurt that one guy's feelings. I'm expecting a new study from the cold warrior any minute now.

John Kurman said...

They also defecate in rich people's food, which is a nice touch.

CNu said...

PRR fresh from the anals of world net daily...., (oops, "annals")

CNu said...

lol, perish the thought! (do you suppose those periodic produce-driven e coli outbreaks are ever so slightly fueled with a slurry of montezuma's revenge?

Vic78 said...

That softening may take too long to use as a strategy. If that's what they want to do, then God bless.

Why aren't politicians putting forth ideas like the Cuban plan? I'm convinced those people were lifelong sycophants that got good grades. Where's the guile and creativity?

Ed Dunn said...

Can someone tell me what a "progressive" is? It sounds like a MSNBC term but also some alternative to the "liberal" moniker. I been running into online debates hearing people call themselves "progressive"...

Vic78 said...

It's an alternative to liberal. They started calling themselves progressive after the right wing made liberals synonymous with Soviets. Today they're scared to call themselves liberal. My guess is they weren't ready for the fight and didn't know how to retaliate.

CNu said...

Gentlemen, I'd take that one step further by classifying "progressives" as a loosely affiliated contingent of civil rights movement copy cats who have shoehorned every conceivable identity classification gender, sexuality, disability, etc.., into the social conventions and legal mix in search of full recognition and protection under the law, affirmative action in employment and representation - as well as - curbs on speech critical of their efforts.

Progressives are the stalwart proponents of "politically correct" speech, and, appear to have adopted the very lowest common denominator representative of any demographic group as the poster child for full rights and protections, the only exception to this rule being the unborn foetus which for some reason has never made it into the rubric of progressive political concern, political economics, and political action.

CNu said...

Politicians are still fully wedded to the neoliberal consumer atomization model under which self-sufficiency and local control of systems of production is broken down and the maximum number of individuals are reduced to wholly dependent consumers. THAT's where the profit is for the politicians' corporate benefactors, and, that's where the potential business growth is for bankers who only have to deal with a vanishingly small number of corporate borrowers in order to yield acceptable returns on loans and direct investments.

The grassroots, activist, hardworking, sleeves rolled up types who can and do promote the cuban model in their localities have neither the time or inclination - by-and-large - to skin and grin like traditional party machine politicians.

John Kurman said...

Having once worked in a slaughterhouse in my youth, and literally had assholes thrown at me, I put nothing past the human animal.

Vic78 said...

Here's some of that blue dog mojo. http://www.thenation.com/article/178337/friends?page=0,0

Leaving Labels Aside For A Moment - Netanyahu's Reality Is A Moral Abomination

This video will be watched in schools and Universities for generations to come, when people will ask the question: did we know what was real...