This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Peer pressure? It's hardwired into our brains

Peer pressure? It's hardwired into our brains - Comments

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 1 by InYourFaceNewYorker

While we obviously needed science to confirm this (because the scientific method is necessary, period), I just look at this and say, "This is just common sense."

Julie

Sun, 11 Sep 2011 01:59:49 UTC | #869249

xsjadolateralus's Avatar Comment 2 by xsjadolateralus

Yeah, I was just going to comment "Duh". I suppose this does have implications for religion, though.

I guess an individualistic person is much less likely to care what their peers think and thus much less likely to be religious. Group think/religion is a feature of the human experience, but it certainly doesn't condone, justify, or mean that it HAS to be. Remember, murder, rape and many other features of the human experience are "hardwired" into us, as well. It doesn't mean in the least bit that we just simply have to accept it.

Sun, 11 Sep 2011 02:40:13 UTC | #869255

Roedy's Avatar Comment 3 by Roedy

Even when you understand the peer pressure is still seems absolutely bizarre when you encounter people who :

  1. have studied nothing about climate change but assure you it is a hoax and a giant conspiracy. That's what Tea Partyers believe. That's why they believe it.

  2. Americans rely on doctors, dentists and engineers to care for them, but they officially repudiate the science they use to do so. Oddly though, even with this official belief, Christian geologists have another mode they use for finding oil.

  3. The USA attacked and occupied two nations in revenge for 9/11 even though President Bush says either nation was involved in the attacks. Normally this should cause some cognitive dissonance. It doesn't. Americans are beating their breasts this weekend, celebrating their virtue in the attacks.

Where would this exaggerated loyalty come from? I imagine, when we lived in tiny groups, loyalty to the group was far more important that loyalty to any idea. Your leader might be a bastard, but he was your bastard, and you relied on him for protection. That also might explain the attraction women have to big, cruel men.

I think I am somewhat more resistant to peer pressure than most. This is because my mom severely punished me if I ever offered the reason "but everybody else does it" when I wanted permission for something. She would roar "But we are not other people".

Sun, 11 Sep 2011 04:32:50 UTC | #869273

hemidemisemigod's Avatar Comment 4 by hemidemisemigod

Peer pressure is hardwired into the British Parliament too. With a good portion of that pressure still coming from hereditary peers!

Sun, 11 Sep 2011 08:59:47 UTC | #869301

Reckless Monkey's Avatar Comment 5 by Reckless Monkey

Is racism hardwired?

Sun, 11 Sep 2011 11:29:27 UTC | #869324

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 6 by QuestioningKat

Group dynamics is an interesting thing. I recall a study in which someone was in need of help. It was found that the person was more likely to be helped if surrounded by less people than in a crowd. People in a crowd waited for someone else to step up while while the lone person knew that he/she needed to help out.

In another study a mock jury/trial was set up. People who were right and disagreed with the rest of the group experienced high levels of stress. Most people try to avoid this. Imagine being in a religion in which you disagree--not surprising that many people just shut up rather than express their disagreements.

Sun, 11 Sep 2011 14:40:58 UTC | #869383

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 7 by aquilacane

The individualistic person who can turn a group away from peer pressure and toward their own personal pressure is a person to watch out for.

Sun, 11 Sep 2011 16:51:20 UTC | #869412

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 8 by AtheistEgbert

Comment 5 by Reckless Monkey

Is racism hardwired?

Racism can be explained as whatever falls outside the identity of the group. This is also known as scapegoating. It's how some Americans can switch from hatred of communists to hatred of Muslims, in only a few decades. Hatred is one of the motives to unite a group.

Sun, 11 Sep 2011 16:53:13 UTC | #869414

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 9 by AtheistEgbert

Comment 7 by aquilacane :

The individualistic person who can turn a group away from peer pressure and toward their own personal pressure is a person to watch out for.

We should distinguish between narcissistic leaders and individuals. Narcissists create an identity reflected by the group and can happily lead and manipulate the masses. They are not necessarily individuals, because their identity is still part of the group.

Sun, 11 Sep 2011 16:56:02 UTC | #869416

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 10 by Neodarwinian

I wish they would show that term " hardwired " to the door and tell it to never come back into a scientific conversation again. Infant sucking is hardwired ( mostly ), Peer acceptance ( better term than pressure ) is not. It is distributed along continuum of affect/response.

Sun, 11 Sep 2011 21:02:17 UTC | #869475

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 11 by QuestioningKat

Comment 7 by aquilacane :

The individualistic person who can turn a group away from peer pressure and toward their own personal pressure is a person to watch out for.

watch out for bad or watch for good depending on the person.

Sun, 11 Sep 2011 21:40:51 UTC | #869483

Eosimias's Avatar Comment 12 by Eosimias

Comment 3 by Roedy

The USA attacked and occupied two nations in revenge for 9/11 even though President Bush says either nation was involved in the attacks. Normally this should cause some cognitive dissonance. It doesn't. Americans are beating their breasts this weekend, celebrating their virtue in the attacks.

Well I'm afraid there was no nation of Alqaedastan to attack. I guess we just shouldn't have done anything, then.

Oh, and I'm in New York City right now. Nobody here is beating their breasts or celebrating anything. The tone is actually quite somber.

Sun, 11 Sep 2011 22:56:01 UTC | #869499

xsjadolateralus's Avatar Comment 13 by xsjadolateralus

Comment 12 by Eosimias :

Comment 3 by Roedy

The USA attacked and occupied two nations in revenge for 9/11 even though President Bush says either nation was involved in the attacks. Normally this should cause some cognitive dissonance. It doesn't. Americans are beating their breasts this weekend, celebrating their virtue in the attacks.

Well I'm afraid there was no nation of Alqaedastan to attack. I guess we just shouldn't have done anything, then.

Oh, and I'm in New York City right now. Nobody here is beating their breasts or celebrating anything. The tone is actually quite somber.

Yes, there was no Alqaedastan to attack, so war was not the solution. Simple as that.

You don't wage war on individuals....... That's the entire point. (Compared to a country, AQ is an individual)

Who, really, WHO is advocating/advocated doing "nothing"? I wanna meet these individuals. Like Yahweh, I don't think they exist.

You're in NY right now? Oh, well, gee..... I guess what you say is more credible than what anyone else says............. I wasn't aware you could observe an entire city and it's people from the ground, either. That's a new one. As if you have an accurate notion of how the entire city of New York is behaving. (end sarcasm)

Just do yourself a favor and don't even reply. It won't be worthwhile, not for anyone. Try to pawn off some of that naive and superficial indignation on lesser minds.

I apologize for the somewhat superfluous response, but this kind of ignorant banter is unacceptable.

Sun, 11 Sep 2011 23:54:46 UTC | #869510

Eosimias's Avatar Comment 14 by Eosimias

Comment 13 by xsjadolateralus

Yes, there was no Alqaedastan to attack, so war was not the solution. Simple as that.

The war was brought to us when our nation was attacked.

You don't wage war on individuals....... That's the entire point. (Compared to a country, AQ is an individual)

Really? I thought Al Qaeda was a large terrorist network whose leader was ordering attacks on our country from Taliban-controlled parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan. I guess I'm just naive and ignorant that way.

Who, really, WHO is advocating/advocated doing "nothing"? I wanna meet these individuals. Like Yahweh, I don't think they exist.

That was a bit of sarcasm on my part. Judging by your attempt at sarcasm, I'm guessing subtlety is lost on you.

So what are you advocating? What should America have done?

You're in NY right now? Oh, well, gee..... I guess what you say is more credible than what anyone else says............. I wasn't aware you could observe an entire city and it's people from the ground, either. That's a new one. As if you have an accurate notion of how the entire city of New York is behaving. (end sarcasm)

Well you didn't seem to have a problem with the someone presuming to know how the whole nation was behaving and making the absurd claim that America was celebrating on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

I don't need to fly over New York and see into everyone's apartments to have some sense of the overall atmosphere of the city this weekend.

Mon, 12 Sep 2011 16:13:14 UTC | #869841

DavidMcC's Avatar Comment 15 by DavidMcC

If I may go back to the original thread topic:

"Among animals, there are strong incentives for wanting to be at the top of the social ranking," Coricelli said. "Animals in the dominant position use their status to secure privileged access to resources, such as food and mates."

If you're a chimp, for example, you can't get to the top without an impressive display (as well as going on border patrols). This puts pressure on you, and makes mistakes more likely, as in Dubya's first term in office.

Oh! Sorry, what have I implied?!

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 13:12:26 UTC | #870294

xsjadolateralus's Avatar Comment 16 by xsjadolateralus

The war was brought to us when our nation was attacked.

No, war is brought when one nation attacks another. The end. It's not hard to understand, at all.

Really? I thought Al Qaeda was a large terrorist network whose leader was ordering attacks on our >country from Taliban-controlled parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan. I guess I'm just naive and ignorant that >way.

Again, AQ is not, was not a nation, for the reading impaired.

That was a bit of sarcasm on my part. Judging by your attempt at sarcasm, I'm guessing subtlety is lost >on you.

So what are you advocating? What should America have done?

It wasn't sarcasm, you are just hedging. Nice little jab, but it was ineffective. I understand subtleties you wouldn't take note of if you had a million years to live. Try again.

I would have listened to the most intelligent people, who were routinely ignored and continue to be ignored. First and foremost, I wouldn't make the wild assumption that I know more than those people. Just the same as a scientist would allow the most qualified person in any particular field, speak on the topic, which they aren't fully competent to speak on. It's subtle, maybe that's why you dislike it so much. It isn't a knee-jerk reaction, like grabbing the wheel and driving us off a fucking cliff, or attacking the wrong country. Remember, we attacked Iraq in the wake of 9/11 and not Afghanistan and Pakistan? Again, subtle points.....

Well you didn't seem to have a problem with the someone presuming to know how the whole nation >was behaving and making the absurd claim that America was celebrating on the anniversary of the 9/11 >attacks.

I don't need to fly over New York and see into everyone's apartments to have some sense of the overall >atmosphere of the city this weekend.

I expressed my disdain for anyone who thinks they could capture and comprehend the state of a City the size of NY, yes those people are ALL stupid and I ridicule them all, you included.

No, you would need to have supernatural powers, that's why I think the notion is stupid. I'm pretty sure no one is reading what you are saying and nodding their heads. Continue if you must, but you're only going to make things worse for yourself.

Wed, 14 Sep 2011 22:13:34 UTC | #870955

Eosimias's Avatar Comment 17 by Eosimias

No, war is brought when one nation attacks another. The end. It's not hard to understand, at all.

Then I suppose the Civil War wasn't a war.

Again, AQ is not, was not a nation, for the reading impaired.

No kidding?

It wasn't sarcasm, you are just hedging.

Yes it was.

I would have listened to the most intelligent people, who were routinely ignored and continue to be ignored. First and foremost, I wouldn't make the wild assumption that I know more than those people. Just the same as a scientist would allow the most qualified person in any particular field, speak on the topic, which they aren't fully competent to speak on. It's subtle, maybe that's why you dislike it so much. It isn't a knee-jerk reaction, like grabbing the wheel and driving us off a fucking cliff, or attacking the wrong country.

You still haven't described the course of action America should have taken.

Remember, we attacked Iraq in the wake of 9/11 and not Afghanistan and Pakistan? Again, subtle points.....

We didn't attack Afghanistan after 9/11? Are you sure?

I expressed my disdain for anyone who thinks they could capture and comprehend the state of a City the size of NY, yes those people are ALL stupid and I ridicule them all, you included.

No, you just made a really sarcastic comment about my statement about the overall tone of the city being somber that weekend (which it was).

No, you would need to have supernatural powers, that's why I think the notion is stupid. I'm pretty sure no one is reading what you are saying and nodding their heads. Continue if you must, but you're only going to make things worse for yourself.

I always get a good laugh from internet pedants such as yourself. Keep it up.

Fri, 16 Sep 2011 19:09:25 UTC | #871664

xsjadolateralus's Avatar Comment 18 by xsjadolateralus

You've got a diamond attitude. I don't mean chipper, I mean dense beyond all reason.

Dense and naive.

Sat, 17 Sep 2011 01:07:42 UTC | #871805

Eosimias's Avatar Comment 19 by Eosimias

Is that the internet pedant version of "well you're a stupid-head"?

You seem to be better at insults than you are at rational discourse (but that's not to say you're good at insults).

And hey, here's a question for you: If I were to say that New Orleans was festive during Mardi Gras, would you jump down my throat for claiming to know the emotional state of the city?

Sat, 17 Sep 2011 01:50:32 UTC | #871817