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The Science Behind Fanboyism

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the wile-e-coyote-was-a-slave-to-brain-chemistry dept.

Science 272

crookedvulture writes "We've all encountered fanboys. They lurk on messageboards and in comment threads, ready to trumpet the benefits of their product or brand of choice with Cheeto-stained fingertips. And it's not their fault. This analysis of the scientific research on the subject reveals that our brains unconsciously develop an affinity for products we choose over similarly attractive alternatives. Duh, right? But what's really interesting is that this affinity exists not just among adults, but also children, monkeys, and even amnesic subjects with no memory of their original choices. We're all hard-wired to be fanboys, it seems. Some of us just do a better job of overcoming our subconscious tendencies."

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272 comments

Why Cheeto-stained? (5, Funny)

Wolvenhaven (1521217) | more than 2 years ago | (#36774730)

When clearly Doritos are the superior snack food.

Re:Why Cheeto-stained? (4, Funny)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#36774764)

And by "Doritos" you mean the only true Doritos, the Taco flavor ones. Every other product in that line is a waste of perfectly good corn triangles, an abomination, the spawn of Anti-Dorito.

You do mean the Taco Flavor ones, right? Or are you one of the infidels?

Re:Why Cheeto-stained? (2)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#36774852)

I kind of like the those pizza flavored ones that hit my area recently. I guess I'd better nail a list to a convenience store door somewhere or something.

Re:Why Cum-stained? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36775202)

Some of us just do a better job of overcoming our subconscious tendencies.

That's because some of us are more intelligent and realize being a fanboy doesn't stand up to questioning. The rest just mindlessly follow, follow, follow the yellow-brick road...

Re:Why Cum-stained? (3, Funny)

cgeys (2240696) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775412)

I love Apple because when you use Apple's products you come out as intelligent person. You aren't like a normal person who is only able to use Windows, but neither you are a nerd that uses Linux. With Apple's products you can really just go out with your iPad, sit down at the coffee shop and wait for girls to come talk to you.

Re:Why Cheeto-stained? (1)

i_ate_god (899684) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775106)

Sorry, cool ranch, cheeseburger, and onion rings & ketchup flavours are clearly the superior brands of flavour. Any comments to the contrary will only further demonstrate your complete ignorance on the subject.

Re:Why Cheeto-stained? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36775204)

*AHEM!*

I prefer Bravos. ...and RC Cola.

Conspiracy! (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775392)

Cool Ranch is by far the greatest creation ever. Taco was a conspiracy brought on by the global banks investment in the Doritos brand. But they couldn't silence Cool Ranch freedom of choice! I mean, can you even eat Taco with Dr. Pepper and call yourself a lover of freedom? No, it's horrible and eats away at the mind! Cool Ranch and Dr. Pepper will lead to world peace and we will not be silenced!

Down with the Taco Conspiracy!

Re:Why Cheeto-stained? (2)

ElmoGonzo (627753) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775480)

Do they still make the Taco flavor? All I ever see is Nacho Cheese (which is an abomination to be sure and part of the reason why I stick with Wasabi peas).

Re:Why Cheeto-stained? (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#36774840)

Because nothing stains like the orange powdery goodness of Cheetos. 9 out of 10 supermodels prefer geeks who eat Cheetos. Doritos are for dorky losers in their mom's basement.

Re:Why Cheeto-stained? (4, Funny)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775162)

That is because Supermodels actually like Doritos more, But if they are in the house they will eat them and become fat. They cannot stand the vial nastiness of Cheetos thus will prefer men who eat those as it will not effect their diet and livelihood.

Although Supermodel is an interesting profession... Most people get jobs to put food on the table, The requirement for a Supermodel is to keep as much food off the table as possible.

Still out on... (4, Funny)

surgen (1145449) | more than 2 years ago | (#36774770)

Is there any research into what turns affinity for a product into to the need to be a dick about it?

Re:Still out on... (1)

earls (1367951) | more than 2 years ago | (#36774952)

The dick part comes in when you love something and some other imbecile shows up and starts shitting all over it with false and misleading information - trolling - purposeful or otherwise, then arguments and insults ensue...

Re:Still out on... (4, Insightful)

Applekid (993327) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775000)

The dick part comes in when you love something and some other imbecile shows up and starts shitting all over it with false and misleading information - trolling - purposeful or otherwise, then arguments and insults ensue...

Or, you know, shitting all over it with the truth.

THE FIGHT IS ON

Seriously, though, there really ought to be two words to extract out of fanboy: one related to being a fan of a product and the other related to being a boy (child) about defending it. Criticism, legitimate or not, shouldn't lead to rabid mouth foaming. I'm pretty surprised that it exists in nature since it seems that it wouldn't serve any useful purpose.

Re:Still out on... (1)

fish waffle (179067) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775418)

I'm pretty surprised that it exists in nature since it seems that it wouldn't serve any useful purpose.

Well, ensuring everyone is doing the same thing has direct benefits for locusts. [sciencedaily.com]

Re:Still out on... (1)

Matt.Battey (1741550) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775120)

I'm sure Freud would have something to say about it. Let me see, it would go something like this, "The Fanboy is motivated by his Oedipial need for self-validation. Just as he is unable to leave the security of his mother's bosom, he is unable to leave his fear of his self-failings behind, projecting his intrepid insecurities onto all that is around him. Even to the point that he must declare Doritos and Coke to be the best rage fuel of all time; when clearly there is no substitution for the dopamine releasing, neuron enhancing combination of Mountain Dew and Cheetos." Freud FTW!

Re:Still out on... (4, Interesting)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775012)

"Is there any research into what turns affinity for a product into to the need to be a dick about it?"

Yes. Hang on to your hat because it's a far more serious issue than you think!

Because people's self worth is increasingly swirled into what they buy, so when people dis' what they buy, it's three degrees from an insult to them for making a poor choice. Not counting stuff you're shoved into at work etc, a key part of all of life is Doing Stuff You Like. Usually this takes accessories, of all price ranges. So except for the famous discussion of cheap vs quality etc, you get right back to "what you like".

Now for the zinger. Switch the topic from "purchases" to "religion" and watch the sparks fly!

Re:Still out on... (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775214)

It's not just products. People define their worth through what they use and who they associate with.

Think about it. People, for some weird reason, think that by moving in the same social circles as say Paris Hilton they have more self worth. Look no further than socialites. They entire purpose is to top the charts of who's who in the social world. They don't do anything productive but yet we're supposed to treat them as if they're something special just because of who they socialize with.

It's madness.

Re:Still out on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36775236)

It even deeper than what you stated.

People have been studying these concepts for over almost 100 years.

Read some of the work done by Edward Bernays [wikimedia.org] . Much of his work was used for political purposes but it was also tested and adopted by companies as well. He helped open up the world to not just buying "stuff" you needed for function, consumption, and usage with no emotional attachments. He transformed that into people wanting to choosing specific products for the prestige and influence of owning that product.

Re:Still out on... (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775048)

This is just a personal theory so don't ask for citations. I think some people become a dick about their affinity for a product because we all want to be right. Some people feel attacked when their decision on a product is called into question, directly or indirectly, and what you see is the result of a person attempting to reestablish their "correctness" under the stress of possible invalidation. Our instincts tell us the fastest way to be recognized as correct is to establish dominance so the person tries to browbeat their "attackers" into submission and eventually, agreement.

Re:Still out on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36775058)

It should be fairly obvious to anyone who comes to slashdot regularly that people with an apple shaped hole in their heart are not really 'playing with a full set of cards'.

That, combined with tribalism and consumerism, is more than enough to explain the likes of mikeFM, node 3, Wovel et al - you shouldn't really need a scientific investigation to account for these idiots.

Re:Still out on... (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775182)

Is there any research into what turns affinity for a product into to the need to be a dick about it?

It often starts when a bunch of people start bitching about a product. Sooner or later people check it out on their own, realize that the hate for it has been sensationalized, and they take the opposite view.

I'm talking about actual fanboyism, though. Most of the time on Slashdot people are labeled 'fanboys' when they actually come up with a good argument and a good rebuttal is not immediately forthcoming. This is often followed by an accusation of being on said company's payroll.

Re:Still out on... (-1, Troll)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775254)

Is there any research into what turns affinity for a product into to the need to be a dick about it?

Wearing a black turtleneck & being gay.

Re:Still out on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36775472)

People with no life that never interact with others face to face. So these sad dweebs take it personally that someone else doesn't share their warped view of the world. What's very interesting is how Apple have cultivated it (with carefully placed astroturfers) for two decades.

Re:Still out on... (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775544)

Is there any research into what turns affinity for a product into to the need to be a dick about it?

Correlation, not causation, etc. Some people are just dicks, period. They're dicks about everything. And when they happen to be communicating in a fanboy-ish context, they of course come across like dicks there, too.

What about political brands? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36774772)

Democrats and republicans are similarly unattractive choices, yet those parties are chock full of fan boys. Maybe this is the real argument for why democracy just can't work in the long run.

Re:What about political brands? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36774808)

[ Insert rant about party systems here ]

Re:What about political brands? (2)

earls (1367951) | more than 2 years ago | (#36774978)

Great observation. I believe we reduce the political field to two parties because we all want to win... So we rally behind those who have the largest chance of winning.

Even if someone follows a third party, they most likely will vote "with the winner" instead of their own party which stands little to no chance of winning.

Tribalism (2)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 2 years ago | (#36774774)

I think it's much more than merely developing an affinity for products we choose over alternatives. The mark of a fanboy isn't that they like something better, it's that they've literally coalesced into miniature tribes where their preferred product (Apple being the obvious example) becomes the culture and any alternative culture (say, Windows PCs or Linux) are intruders or the enemy. But that's not really a surprise. Humans love tribes. We've loved them when we were tree-dwelling primates.

Re:Tribalism (5, Funny)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#36774974)

I am the Exception that proves the rule. I am no follower
I lead by picking the best tool for the job.
Would a fanboi of the philips screwdriver use it instead of a flathead on a flathead screw?
So why use Windows in a case where Linux is superior, and Windows where Linux is superior?
Being a "fanboi" has its limitations, as fanaticism can lead to many bad things.
Stop hampering your visions with your emotional love for an inanimate object. Use your brain son!

Re:Tribalism (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775264)

No you may not be the exception to the rule... If you have choices of two tools that can do the job just as well but differently you will probably go with one and defend your choice on why you thought it was the better tool.

"Would a fanboi of the philips screwdriver use it instead of a flathead on a flathead screw?"
No they wouldn't get Flathead screw or use a flathed to get the screw out and replace it with a Phillip screw, they would use Phillip screws even though they may strip on him, and then admit that a Stripped Head screw is worth not having your screw driver slip out the head.

"So why use Windows in a case where Linux is superior, and Windows where Linux is superior?" Because to a fanboi Windows or Linux will always be the right tool, and will take whatever trade-offs and weight them less.

When you are a fanboi you don't see those limitations because your scale of measuring the goods and bad may be off. And you may not realize it.

Re:Tribalism (2)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775068)

Why is Apple the "obvious example"? It used to be that people felt that way about Linux fanboys, these days I'd say Windows/MS fanboys are actually the worst, possibly because they tend to have the backing of all the "anti-fanboys" who run Windows and hate Linux/Apple (it's especially hilarious when they clearly have never even touched Linux or OS X yet rant angrily about how stupid, homosexual or brainwashed those who don't run Windows are, oh yeah and anyone who's not a Windows user is also extremely smug about it and always rubs it in everyone's face, or so I've been told over and over and over and over again).

Re:Tribalism (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36775088)

Why is Apple the "obvious example"? It used to be that people felt that way about Linux fanboys, these days I'd say Windows/MS fanboys are actually the worst, possibly because they tend to have the backing of all the "anti-fanboys" who run Windows and hate Linux/Apple (it's especially hilarious when they clearly have never even touched Linux or OS X yet rant angrily about how stupid, homosexual or brainwashed those who don't run Windows are, oh yeah and anyone who's not a Windows user is also extremely smug about it and always rubs it in everyone's face, or so I've been told over and over and over and over again).

/\/\
Exhibit A?

Re:Tribalism (1)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775096)

Thank you for proving my point.

Re:Tribalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36775352)

Indeed, isn't it a wonderful argument where simply defending your point of view proves the other person's?

Oh wait, no, thinking that certain fanboys are somehow `worse' than others is in fact a better sign of a fanboy than arguing that they're all just about equally terrible.

Re:Tribalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36775150)

Do you want us to call the waaambulance for you? The irony here is so thick that we couldn't cut it with a chainsaw.

Re:Tribalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36775168)

Why is Apple the "obvious example"?

ROFLMAO!! I got a kick out of that one... from your /. id, I can tell you are not new here so I assume you are just going for sarcasm...

Re:Tribalism (2)

grimmjeeper (2301232) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775212)

Why is Apple the "obvious example"? It used to be that people felt that way about Linux fanboys, these days I'd say Windows/MS fanboys are actually the worst, possibly because they tend to have the backing of all the "anti-fanboys" who run Windows and hate Linux/Apple (it's especially hilarious when they clearly have never even touched Linux or OS X yet rant angrily about how stupid, homosexual or brainwashed those who don't run Windows are, oh yeah and anyone who's not a Windows user is also extremely smug about it and always rubs it in everyone's face, or so I've been told over and over and over and over again).

Oh, the irony...

Re:Tribalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36775224)

My guess would be that it's because despite the fact that Apple products have repeatedly been proven to be inferior to cheaper, easier to use alternatives, Apple fanbois keep on trying to explain why they use their useless, overpriced, locked-down gadgets instead of the cheaper, better, superior alternatives.

It used to be that people felt that way about Linux fanboys, these days I'd say Windows/MS fanboys are actually the worst, possibly because they tend to have the backing of all the "anti-fanboys" who run Windows and hate Linux/Apple (it's especially hilarious when they clearly have never even touched Linux or OS X yet rant angrily about how stupid, homosexual or brainwashed those who don't run Windows are, oh yeah and anyone who's not a Windows user is also extremely smug about it and always rubs it in everyone's face, or so I've been told over and over and over and over again).

Oh, yeah, the persecution complex too. Just because you like using an expensive inferior product doesn't mean we hate you. It just means you're an idiot.

Re:Tribalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36775388)

My guess would be that it's because despite the fact that Apple products have repeatedly been proven to be inferior to cheaper, easier to use alternatives, Apple fanbois keep on trying to explain why they use their useless...

Or they could be pointing out why you don't know what you're talking about and you're just not quite up to hearing about why you're wrong.

Re:Tribalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36775366)

wow! unless he's kidding, this comment serves to illustrate a very important ingredient in the "fanboy mix" - a chronic lack of self awareness.

without wanting to be unkind, most healthy people would probably avoid him in any given social situation, lets face it. it's just that on the internet the facial tics and other things that might give away his "eccentricity" are just not available.

to be honest, when you're as utterly oblivious as this poor guy then you could probably be placed on the autistic spectrum.

Re:Tribalism (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775294)

A simpler explanation is that people love to argue and arguments are easier to fight when you're actually knowledgeable about the topic you're debating. At least this explains why people bring up Android and iOS in threads that have nothing to do with either.

Re:Tribalism (1)

Strangelover (1889778) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775328)

Fanboys aren't fanboys because they choose some computer or some car or whatever and automatically join the tribe. They become fanboys because they get defencive about the choice they've made when morons who like to feel superior ridicule and belittle both them and whatever [insert computer, car, music, country etc here] they have/use/live in.

Asheron's Call 2... (1)

PmanAce (1679902) | more than 2 years ago | (#36774786)

Boy was I such a fanboy of such a mediocre game...it was my first MMO (ahhhh, first love, no wonder)...so this study must be true.

Re:Asheron's Call 2... (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#36774948)

heh could not stand that game ... AC1 though wow I pissed way too much time into that game

Elliot Aronson did it (2)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 2 years ago | (#36774820)

"This analysis of the scientific research on the subject reveals that our brains unconsciously develop an affinity for products we choose over similarly attractive alternatives. "

Elliot Aronson described this in his 1972 textbook Social Animal. (Resolving cognitive dissonance and stuff ...)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elliot_Aronson [wikipedia.org]

It certainly works for partners (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#36774950)

I'm sure plenty of us have gone out with someone who we initially thought was ok but not amazing but eventually got to really like them. And it certainly wasn't because their personality or looks had undergone some radical overhaul in that time.

Me and my Mac (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36774832)

As and avowed Apple fan, I do sometimes wonder about my odd feelings of love for my iThings and Mac.

Re:Me and my Mac (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36775260)

As an avowed Android Fan, I do sometimes wonder about my odd feelings of noisy hate for all things Apple while I'm undoing the damage caused by malicious apps and trying to figure out which set of vague permissions to allow the new possibly-malware apps to run. It just makes me want to run into Slashdot screaming 'Walled Garden is bad! At least I'm free to be pwned!"

No, not duh (1)

tulcod (1056476) | more than 2 years ago | (#36774842)

Why would this effect be obvious? That we choose products which we favor seems logical, but that we favor products /after/ having chosen them, even if we have a horrible experience with them after the acquisition, is not "duh".

Troll! (3, Funny)

loftwyr (36717) | more than 2 years ago | (#36774860)

I mean really, this whole article is just an excuse for the trolls to come out and say how good their fanboyism is versus all the other fanboys.

I've never seen such an obvious pitch for vi, Windows, and Ubuntu

Its the exact same mechanism as religion (0)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#36774868)

You align yourself to a belief in something or someone then defend it despite any contrary evidence or arguments no matter how well presented. Then occasionally someone has a "conversion" - eg christianity to islam or windows to mac and they're now just as fervently against their previous choice and tub thumping for their new one.

Personally I think its a mild mental illness and its hard to tell apart the tone of the rantings of fanbois from religious nutters.

Cheeto-stain-fingered overlords (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36774876)

I for one welcome our new Cheeto-stain-fingered fanboy overlords.

As long as they are /. fans!

Fanboys and Haters - 2 sides of the same coin (1)

Old97 (1341297) | more than 2 years ago | (#36774890)

We see it all the time here. There are rabid fans of this or that company and there are rabid haters of the same. Both groups are sick and pathetic and, I believe, doing pretty much the same thing. The problem at slashdot is that people who like or defend a product or company and who are being fairly rational and objective are often dismissed as "fanbois" by the haters. I see a lot more haters at slashdot than I do real fanbois. Most real fanbois are probably more comfortable staying with the sites where their views aren't questioned. I suppose the haters enjoy their group thinking at slashdot.

Wish I had mod points. (2)

Brannon (221550) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775046)

At least fanboys are expressing a positive sentiment--haters are losers. Live and let live--somebody smart said that once.

You know who you are (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#36774900)

What about anti-fanboyism, where someone's irrational hate for a product they attack the product and demonize it's users at every opportunity?

because (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36774910)

in our world, admitting you were wrong before is seen as a sign of weakness. Would you say " I bought this but in hindsight it's a piece of crap". Everybody would translate this as "he admit being an idiot therefore he is an idiot". This in turn would cause you to lose prestige then lower your employability. That's why our world is led by overconfident idiots.

Re:because (1)

earls (1367951) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775022)

You're absolutely right, that's par for the course when it comes to your average Joe, but those in the know know the true idiot is the one who cares what others think.

Protective Stradagy (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#36774944)

It is probably a protective strategy, to defend our choices. As we choose a mate we will try to protect them as to secure the next generation. Evolution probably went where this over-generalization of the effect was good enough, and it didn't need to be particular down to having to be a mate, just a choice.

Hanging on to the Idea that your OS choice is superior to the others, and the need to protect it against other ideas, falls under the same emotion. Failure to do so may cause other OS's to become more popular then you have wasted your time and resources on that choice. But if you defend it and keep it going then your choice was valid and good and you didn't wast your life on your OS choice.

The same with religion, Religions that expand by converting adults are often have members with more Zeal then people who grew up with a Religion because that was what their family practiced. Or with someone who decided to become an Atheist, they will often be more hateful towards people who believe in religion.

I personalty try to catch myself becoming a fan-boy and make sure I say sensible about it... Although I don't always succeed as it is such a primitive emotion I feel it has helped me keep in good graces with a lot of people.

Re:Protective Stradagy (1)

Labcoat Samurai (1517479) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775132)

Hanging on to the Idea that your OS choice is superior to the others, and the need to protect it against other ideas, falls under the same emotion. Failure to do so may cause other OS's to become more popular then you have wasted your time and resources on that choice. But if you defend it and keep it going then your choice was valid and good and you didn't wast your life on your OS choice.

I was going to say that I figure the reason the preference exists is that we appreciate the security of something we *know* performs adequately over the uncertainty of an alternative. When the two products were initially rated, that knowledge didn't exist, but once the person became familiar with the product and determined it was at least *good enough*, it becomes preferable to keep using the product than to switch and take a risk. What you've said here, I think, expands upon that and explains a bit more why we would not only prefer one product over the other, but would then irrationally and emotionally defend that product as well.

Why so much concern? (2)

kakyoin01 (2040114) | more than 2 years ago | (#36774968)

Our adherence to products we love causes us to favor our choices over others? Makes perfect sense to me, we all want reasons to love our decisions. Now if only we didn't give so much of a damn about how our decisions compare against those of others, then there would be 100% fewer "fanboyism" fights. And less fighting is good, unless I am a madman and no longer have any idea what I'm talking about. We like being right, but it's not always necessary to show it. Maybe if everyone decided once each day to realize situations, not take flamebait and keep their opinions to themselves, we'd all be friendlier. Go ahead and get angry at me for showing some optimism, but deep down inside y'all know it's true.

It's because of pattern matching. (1)

master_p (608214) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775028)

The brain does not use deduction, it uses pattern matching, and therefore, given enough training over the same things, a bias is developed.

well it IS their fault (2)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775100)

explaining how or why someone thinks or acts a certain way does not remove them from accountability or responsibility

"well see, he is a drug addict, so when he mowed down the family with his car, this is why it is not his fault"

this is obviously tangential, but i want to make sure people understand: there is nothing wrong with explaining why people behave a certain way or say a certain thing. but explaining why they do something doesn't mean they are removed from responsibility or accountability for their actions

i see this kind of thinking about responsibility like in the summary all the time, and it bothers me, as various neurobiological investigations EXPLAIN someone's behavior but it doesn't EXCUSE someone's behavior

some people think explaining=excusing. no: without personal accountability in this world, all sense of morality is destroyed. if it comes out of your mouth or your hands, YOU are responsible for it. no explanation nullfies that. please understand that

Re:well it IS their fault (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775170)

Luckily, free will still makes perfect sense in a universe that(depending on the scale you are working with) appears to be either deterministic or probabilistic, so morality is definitely safe...

Re:well it IS their fault (2)

maxume (22995) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775238)

I think you are poorly estimating the motivations of many of the people that decry biological explanations for behavior. They have integrated their morality as a feature of the universe that they live in, not as a system of evaluating the actions of themselves and others (in other words, their ideas of good and bad are not in any way thoughtful, they are simply prescribed).

So concepts that undermine the idea that morality is a feature of the universe threaten their entire world view and they are not willing to use that threat as a reason to reconsider. So the idea that there is some meaningfully large body of criminal apologists is likely a fabrication, most sane people going to view the idea that there are biological explanations for behavior as a reason to modify the ways that we address antisocial behavior, not as a reason to simply accept the behavior.

Re:well it IS their fault (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775540)

yes, absolutely

but we mustn't forget the assholes who think explaining behavior biologically actually excuses people from the consequences of their actions

such assholes are real. mainly, the people committing various crimes

explains slashdot (1)

bobaferret (513897) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775128)

I guess that's why I keep coming here, as opposed to switching to reddit.

Re:explains slashdot (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36775468)

I guess that's why I keep coming here, as opposed to switching to reddit.

reddit blows shut up

Wrong analysis (2)

Guybrush_T (980074) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775174)

I'm I the only one who is concerned by the validity of their experiment. The last experiment lets me very dubious.

Imagine you have 3 smileys. They have similar ratings, but for sure there is one you prefer, one you rate 2nd and one you rate 3rd. Now, let's just see the result we would have for each scenario.

Rating of cards 1/2/3 ; 3rd card chosen after initial choice ; 3rd card chosen without initial choice (so just between card 2 and card 3)

1/2/3 ; False (1 chosen on first pass) ; False
1/3/2 ; True (1 chosen on first pass) ; True
2/1/3 ; False (1 chosen on first pass) ; False
2/3/1 ; True (2 chosen on first pass) ; True
3/1/2 ; True (1 chosen on first pass) ; False
3/2/1 ; True (2 chosen on first pass) ; True

Which makes in the first experiment 50% chances of choosing the third card and 66% when we made a previous "preselection". This is approximately the figures children had. Monkeys had lower 3rd card preference, maybe because they prefer to take cards in order.

About the rest of the article, I'm just as dubious. If you choose a product, for sure you rate it better. It's called the cause of you choosing it, not a consequence ...

unbiased (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36775176)

I (buy android) am (ipad is crap) completely (don't touch windows with a barge pole) unbiased (and let's not mention blackberry), thanks (nor symbian)

OMG I WANT AN iPhone 5!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36775180)

PLEASE APPLE!! If you would just let me have an iPhone 5 NOW instead of me having to wait ALL the way until fall, I PROMISE to hold it right!! I'll do ANYTHING! Please!?!? I really don't want to cryogenically freeze myself again :(

Like every Apple fan on /. (-1, Troll)

gubers33 (1302099) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775216)

I will probably get called a troll per usual when I say something about Apple, but there are tons of articles on Apple going after people for patent infringement. Or ridiculously calling for HTC to be held against the Tariff Act of 1930 or applying for patents for technology that was around 20 years prior (horizontal to vertical display). And people who call Apple out because they are against ridiculous patent trolling and the overuse of the legal system are modded down by these fan boys. However those same Apple fans boys will be the first to call out Microsoft or Apple rivals for patent trolling.

Fanbois are Irrational (1)

virb67 (1771270) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775270)

Or maybe fanbois develop irrational and emotional attachments to products because they are just average idiots who have been beguiled by marketing. That is after all the whole point of mass marketing -- to beguile the average idiot.

Re:Fanbois are Irrational (0)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775482)

Are that as big of an idiot as someone whose counter argument is an ad hom attack?

Smart people gather emotional attachments as well.

subconscious tendencies (1)

rgviza (1303161) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775290)

".... Some of us just do a better job of overcoming our subconscious tendencies."

It's called "being a rational, critically thinking person" and ignoring the shininess to look for value.

It depends on the individual (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36775400)

I do have to say that it depends on the individual. I speak from my choices, along with friends' choices. When I buy something, I don't just pick it up and think immediately that it's awesome since awesome would need some sort of base. Before I buy something, I research it and it's competition, pros/cons, etc. Of course there are many areas which the grey areas are the selling points as that is the only deviant properties.

Though I'm sure that there are going to be lots that simply say I'm lieing and go on trying to prove everyone thinks compulsively.

errr... no (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775448)

we are hardwired to excuse away the faults of something when we are vested in it.

Fanboys are people who go to the extreme end and try to force other people to ignore the same faults that are.

It applies to family, religion, products, everything. The length of the excuse will be correlated to the amount of value and time people put into something

It should be noted that being aware that happens means someone can learn how to recognize and stop making those emotional judgements.

Triggered by incentives (1)

dcavanaugh (248349) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775570)

It's easy to induce fanboyism; just give the subject a bag of Cheetos, Doritos, or any crunchy snack.

The most extreme fanboys are those who have received little gifts from vendors. A desk trinket or T-shirt goes a long way towards making the prospective fanboy feel "loved", "part of the team", etc. Bigger gifts work even better -- free products for home use, "training", etc. And for the truly resistant fanboy there is some extreme methods that can induce fanboyism: blackjack and strippers.

The other way to induce fanboyism is to prevent the subject from discovering alternatives. If you can make sure the prospective fanboy never drives a car other than Toyota, he or she will probably become a Toyota fanboy with no incentives whatsoever.

In humans, the degree of fanboyism (let's call it the "FB factor") is computed by the number of excuses per hour the person will make to defend the shortcomings of whatever the fanboy is addicted to.

Computing FB for prospective fanboys of Microsoft was hotly disputed until Vista provided a foolproof test case.

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