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The Evolution of Prejudice - Comments

wisnoskij's Avatar Comment 1 by wisnoskij

They sure seem to make a lot of assumptions about what the monkeys are thinking. And it does nto even matter if each assumption is almost certainly right, they only have ot be wrong once.

Wed, 06 Apr 2011 17:34:33 UTC | #612688

Scruddy Bleensaver's Avatar Comment 2 by Scruddy Bleensaver

This is hardly new or controversial, is it? When resources are scarce, we favour our own tribe and family over outsiders when competing for same. Self > family > tribe > nation > the rest of the world. We see it in everything from football to charitable giving today, as we still carry our evolutionary baggage into the modern world where we're not supposed to feel those things anymore.

Wed, 06 Apr 2011 17:39:06 UTC | #612689

kraut's Avatar Comment 3 by kraut

"If a person is quicker to associate “bad” with African-American faces compared to European-American faces, this suggests that he or she harbors an implicit bias against African-Americans."

What bollocks - what if that person had recent bad experiences with members of the biased against group?

Wed, 06 Apr 2011 17:55:43 UTC | #612696

kraut's Avatar Comment 4 by kraut

"or bad things, such as spiders."

why are spiders bad for a monkey? What a ridiculous study. So full of holes nobody even has to try to shoot new ones through it.

If that is accepted "scientific" research - woe for the scientific community that accepts that as valid information. looks more something a hobbyist would do - and even much better then.

Wed, 06 Apr 2011 17:58:54 UTC | #612698

Deako's Avatar Comment 5 by Deako

Unfortunately I don't have access to the original paper, but the abstract doesn't seem as sensationalist as the bit of journalism in Scientific American..

..and I wouldn't want my inbuilt prejudices "Graduate student X along with a team of psychologists" to get the better of me when passing judgement.

Wed, 06 Apr 2011 18:28:36 UTC | #612706

Scoundrel's Avatar Comment 6 by Scoundrel

new scientist wouldn't of published this trash would it? It really does have holes, gaping ones.

Wed, 06 Apr 2011 19:02:35 UTC | #612714

chulaka's Avatar Comment 7 by chulaka

Damn, I took the IAT test on religion and it looks like I am less hostile to Christianity than I thought. I feel depressed.

Wed, 06 Apr 2011 19:08:11 UTC | #612716

Narvi's Avatar Comment 8 by Narvi

Cayo Santiago, an uninhabited island southeast of Puerto Rico also known as "Monkey Island"

Did they find Guybrush? "How appropriate, you fight like a cow".

Wed, 06 Apr 2011 20:07:51 UTC | #612733

Raiko's Avatar Comment 9 by Raiko

I am confused. I also can't access the original paper right now, but either there's a reason why a Yale social studies graduate feels compelled to write for that dreadful magazine like a cheap journalist, or there's a malicious editor out there, who intends to make the writers look bad - OR the original paper is just that bad and sensational which doesn't seem so from the abstract.

I find it especially shocking that anyone would imply, after seeing a minute bias-like-difference in a test, that this difference may just be able to overrule conscious reconsideration on a grand scale, without at least acknowledging that there's a gigantic difference between engaging in discriminatory acts and being a bit quick in applying labels.

Social and neurological studies on behaving monkeys always leave me very skeptical to begin with. This one, as presented in the article, especially. The monkeys were curious? They associate certain monkey groups with things? They still recognize ex-family members as such and if so, it makes them less curious seeing an ex-family member that doesn't belong here than seeing a stranger, which means they gotta be biased against outsiders? These are grand and bold assumptions to make and they require quite a bit of evidence. But maybe, somewhere in a lab a group of scientists is slamming their heads against walls again, because science journalism somehow never seems to get it right, especially concerning interpretations, background info and conclusions.

Wed, 06 Apr 2011 22:35:11 UTC | #612760

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 10 by InYourFaceNewYorker

I agree we definitely need a more detailed explanation regarding the things everybody mentioned (as well as my cousin when I posted this on Facebook), but in terms of the spider, there is an easy answer: Many spiders are poisonous, and there is definitely a Darwinian advantage to being afraid of spiders. And groups of teenage girls scream at them, perhaps to establish group cohesion. ;)

Wed, 06 Apr 2011 23:39:29 UTC | #612775

Starcrash's Avatar Comment 11 by Starcrash

Damn, I took the IAT test on religion and it looks like I am less hostile to Christianity than I thought. I feel depressed.

I actually started a discussion on this topic 3 months ago, but I think the title was enough to scare people off. If you're interested in trying the IAT test, check it out here.

Wed, 06 Apr 2011 23:43:31 UTC | #612776

Notstrident's Avatar Comment 12 by Notstrident

A lightweight article suitable for a mag in a dentist's office.

Wed, 06 Apr 2011 23:47:25 UTC | #612777

kraut's Avatar Comment 13 by kraut

"Many spiders are poisonous"

not many, very few actually are harmful. Most poisons in spiders are in the range of wasp or bee stings. And even then - in most rural societies in Europe until the mid 1800 spiders were part of the menu, among other arthropodes. Even today in the amazon and in parts of Asia spiders (theraphosidae) are part of the menu.

So spiders are a potential source of high protein food.

Wed, 06 Apr 2011 23:48:56 UTC | #612778

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 14 by InYourFaceNewYorker

Well, then, let's ask where rhesus monkeys live and what spiders live around them. Anybody?

Wed, 06 Apr 2011 23:49:56 UTC | #612779

lynda's Avatar Comment 15 by lynda

I'm very open and interested in these kinds of studies. But I do agree that there seem to be jumps to perhaps unwarranted or premature conclusions without more rigorous research.

Thu, 07 Apr 2011 00:50:38 UTC | #612795

Saganic Rites's Avatar Comment 16 by Saganic Rites

Comment 13 by kraut "Many spiders are poisonous" not many, very few actually are harmful. Most poisons in spiders are in the range of wasp or bee stings. And even then - in most rural societies in Europe until the mid 1800 spiders were part of the menu, among other arthropodes. Even today in the amazon and in parts of Asia spiders (theraphosidae) are part of the menu. So spiders are a potential source of high protein food.

And

14 InYourFaceNewYorker
Well, then, let's ask where rhesus monkeys live and what spiders live around them. Anybody?

First off, I can't think of a single poisonous spider, but I can think of several venomous ones, so yes, potentially spiders are a good high-protein food, but monkeys are naturally wary because they are aware that some spiders carry a threat. It's exactly the same with snakes; most don't eat monkeys, but because some do, and the monkeys have no way of telling which is which, then it's probably best to avoid the lot. A lot of the venoms may be like a wasp sting to humans (although a lot are far worse, I wouldn't like a Black Widow giving me a nibble!), but even those can cause paralysis and death in smaller animals than us.

Off the top of my head, I seem to recall that the Rhesus is native to Central and Equatorial Asia, where they share the jungles and forests with several very venomous spiders, including one species known as the Monkey-Eating spider (and there's a clue in the name as to why monkeys don't really like them).

Thu, 07 Apr 2011 01:40:57 UTC | #612802

some asshole's Avatar Comment 17 by some asshole

Comment 3 by kraut :

"If a person is quicker to associate “bad” with African-American faces compared to European-American faces, this suggests that he or she harbors an implicit bias against African-Americans."

What bollocks - what if that person had recent bad experiences with members of the biased against group?

I can attest to that. I never had a feeling of racial prejudice until I moved down south where the whole culture is different. I'm not talking about being affected by peers, I'm talking about experience with other racial groups.

Thu, 07 Apr 2011 02:34:40 UTC | #612813

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 18 by InYourFaceNewYorker

Well I tend to think that the phenomenon of racism is more complex with humans, but wouldn't it make sense to have primitive origins as well?

Thu, 07 Apr 2011 03:06:43 UTC | #612820

Pete.K's Avatar Comment 19 by Pete.K

Racism can be broken down to tribalism too, and that is prevalent in modern society where we don't even recognise it for what it it; I would suggest that sports teams followers are no different to tribal groups, they exhibit the same distrust and aggression to other team followers as tribes do in Africa today.

I'm currently living in an area of South Sudan where racial differences lead to serious injury and death, but by far the number of injuries we get at our hospital are spear wounds from inter tribal clashes, even disputes from within a tribe. The most common thing fought over; cows, yes cows, they are an indication of a mans wealth and the currency for acquiring a new wife and are therefore his most important possession, even above his wife.

Compare this to a Saturday afternoon at a UK football match, some fans have a deep mistrust, even loathing of the other teams fans, even though they don't really know them, or have even met them before, why is that, is this our evolutionary past showing itself in instinctive behaviour?

Thu, 07 Apr 2011 07:52:42 UTC | #612870

Saganic Rites's Avatar Comment 20 by Saganic Rites

@ Pete K. The sporting aspect that you touch on has been studied by that great people-watcher Desmond Morris, and his book on the subject, The Soccer Tribe, is fascinating reading.

Bryan.

Thu, 07 Apr 2011 10:10:10 UTC | #612892

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 21 by crookedshoes

I need to ask a pedestrian question.

Why is it that every generation thinks that the generations older than them are "soooo racist"?

Ever sit with a member of the WWII generation? They seem to harbor hate and mistrust of _______ (fill in the blank with the ethnicity of your choice) more so than the Vietnam generation which seems to harbor racial hate more than the current generation.

Does this study break down the monkeys into age based groups to see if there is significance to a correlation between "racism" and age????

Thu, 07 Apr 2011 12:11:29 UTC | #612909

TobySaunders's Avatar Comment 22 by TobySaunders

The species bias is at the center of the worst crime against ethics ever committed on Earth; that unfair groups divide (i.e. humans immorally murdering those who aren't as conscious as adults humans) has greater/bigger/worse impact than any racial or religious divide.

Thu, 07 Apr 2011 17:07:24 UTC | #612976

jpgj's Avatar Comment 23 by jpgj

Comment 21 by crookedshoes

I need to ask a pedestrian question.

Why is it that every generation thinks that the generations older than them are "soooo racist"?

Your remark is very intriguing! Is it generations or just ageing?

I've noticed something of the sort with some of my own relatives racial attitudes or attitudes to immigrants (this is Switzerland) as they have aged. All were ultra-liberal and ant-iracist around 30 but seemed to be somewhat less so 40 years later, not actively racist, but more prone to the occasional put-down in conversation. And, honestly, I would not really except myself.

Whether it's due to people becoming more conservative as they age or to different types of experiences with ethnically different people as you advance in life I do not know. It could explain some of the variation between different age cohorts, besides the fact that older people grew up in a more prejudiced environment to begin with. Further research would be interesting.

Thu, 07 Apr 2011 17:32:30 UTC | #612982

Scruddy Bleensaver's Avatar Comment 24 by Scruddy Bleensaver

Comment 23 by jpgj :

I've noticed something of the sort with some of my own relatives racial attitudes or attitudes to immigrants (this is Switzerland) as they have aged. All were ultra-liberal and ant-iracist around 30 but seemed to be somewhat less so 40 years later, not actively racist, but more prone to the occasional put-down in conversation. And, honestly, I would not really except myself.

Whether it's due to people becoming more conservative as they age or to different types of experiences with ethnically different people as you advance in life I do not know. It could explain some of the variation between different age cohorts, besides the fact that older people grew up in a more prejudiced environment to begin with. Further research would be interesting.

I suspect it's more to do with having to actually accommodate ethnic and religious minorities for the first time. 40 years ago in Europe, it was easy to smugly denounce the US and South Africa for its racism when hardly any minorities lived in Europe. Now that they're seeing a large influx of non-western immigrants in their own countries and have been prevented, under thread of anti-hate speech laws and oppressive political correctness, from saying anything about it, they're far less happy about it. I've seen this even under the most liberal of Europeans I know, including my family members.

My elderly father once whispered to me when we were walking amidst a crowd of head-scarves and burkas in the centre of the city where he lived, "Sometimes you don't feel at home in your own country anymore". He looked around guiltily after saying this, for even expressing a sentiment like that can be considered hate speech these days.

Thu, 07 Apr 2011 22:01:47 UTC | #613064

neil pharr's Avatar Comment 25 by neil pharr

We cut oursleves short. We are not monkeys. We just have a monkey past. We have some many animal lives in our past. Now we are fully developed humans with the human mind. Our prejudices and fears do not speak highly of our human status. The only solution to overcoming our narrow views is to adopt universalism as an ideology. Also, we must admit that all come form one source, be it a single nothingness or a single cosmic conciousness. We are all the progeny of one single source, therefore we have a universal outlook of the world. We have a neo-humanism ideology that accepts all (great or small) as members of our universal family. We notice that religions can not take that leap in knowledge, due to the defective thinking and defective ideology of religions.

Fri, 08 Apr 2011 18:49:50 UTC | #613324

maria melo's Avatar Comment 26 by maria melo

Wish I could undestand how is this related to "kin selection". It seems a very important and interesting research.

Wed, 13 Apr 2011 21:14:17 UTC | #615126