×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Empathy Represses Analytic Thought, and Vice Versa

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the take-note-sports-fans dept.

Science 293

hessian sends this quote from a Case Western Reserve University news release: "New research shows a simple reason why even the most intelligent, complex brains can be taken by a swindler's story – one that upon a second look offers clues it was false. When the brain fires up the network of neurons that allows us to empathize, it suppresses the network used for analysis, a pivotal study led by a Case Western Reserve University researcher shows (abstract). ... At rest, our brains cycle between the social and analytical networks. But when presented with a task, healthy adults engage the appropriate neural pathway, the researchers found. The study shows for the first time that we have a built-in neural constraint on our ability to be both empathetic and analytic at the same time. The work suggests that established theories about two competing networks within the brain must be revised. More, it provides insights into the operation of a healthy mind versus those of the mentally ill or developmentally disabled."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

293 comments

Oblig (4, Funny)

Konster (252488) | about a year and a half ago | (#41833571)

[spock]Fascinating.[/spock]

Re:Oblig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41833871)

[worf] Muh Dikk. [/worf]

[geordi] C'mon, please, I haven't been laid in 5 light years! [/geordi]

[data] I have the wooden, monotone personality of a Slashdot reader.[/data]

Re:Oblig (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year and a half ago | (#41833971)

Hmm...or, make it easy on yourself, always be suspicious and analytical when dealing with strangers?

I trust my friends, and while when I meet someone new, I certainly am hesitant, and looking for trouble when someone new comes into my area....

Do that many people give a shit or have feelings for strangers they happen across / first meetings?

Re:Oblig (4, Insightful)

Antipater (2053064) | about a year and a half ago | (#41834111)

Do that many people give a shit or have feelings for strangers they happen across / first meetings?

The fact that people can successfully panhandle suggests yes.

Re:Oblig (1)

White Flame (1074973) | about a year and a half ago | (#41834603)

Panhandling is very similar to spam or telemarketing. Even if a fraction of a percentage of people give money, that's enough to "succeed".

Just because (panhandling|telemarketing) lets a (homeless person|business) get by doesn't mean that the majority of people respond positively to it.

Re:Oblig (2)

Antipater (2053064) | about a year and a half ago | (#41834719)

Now we're quibbling semantics. I never said a majority. The question was "Do that many people give a shit...?" "That many" to me doesn't mean a majority, it means "enough" - and enough people do give a shit. To you, it might mean different. /shrug.

Re:Oblig (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year and a half ago | (#41834351)

Hmm...or, make it easy on yourself, always be suspicious and analytical when dealing with strangers?

I trust my friends, and while when I meet someone new, I certainly am hesitant, and looking for trouble when someone new comes into my area....

Do that many people give a shit or have feelings for strangers they happen across / first meetings?

When you get a message from a friend over the internet, do you engage your empathic or your analytic net? Because unless you engage your analytic net, you'll nave no way to tell if it's really your friend contacting you. However, if you leave that on while responding to them, they probably won't be your friend for long.

Re:Oblig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834361)

Hopefully, yes.

Re:Oblig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834583)

Do that many people give a shit or have feelings for strangers they happen across / first meetings?

If the person is attractive to me, then suspicions go out of the window. I would fall for the 'damsel in distress' trap every time, even though I am your typical not-quite-aspie geeky tech student who takes pride in his analytical skills.

Re:Oblig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834649)

Big deal, my crappy government has wasted more of my money on worse stuff than random strangers on the street.

So I don't sweat this small stuff.

Finally explains it (3, Funny)

Gothmolly (148874) | about a year and a half ago | (#41833615)

So this is why girls aren't good at math?

Re:Finally explains it (2, Insightful)

nschubach (922175) | about a year and a half ago | (#41833651)

Because girls were raised to empathize? I'm not sure I buy that male/female is "better" at either. Just more experienced.

Re:Finally explains it (3, Interesting)

rve (4436) | about a year and a half ago | (#41834163)

"Raised" you say. When I drop my kids off at daycare, the little girls my son's age come to check out his baby sister. The little boys are too busy playing and couldn't care less. At that age (barely verbal) kids just do what comes naturally, and not really what society expects of them.

Mind you, this doesn't mean the GP isn't full of manure. Girl's lack of aptitude in math compared to boys is a matter of culture, not nature. It's not constant over different cultures or in the same culture over time.

Re:Finally explains it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834517)

Girl's lack of aptitude in math compared to boys is a matter of culture, not nature. It's not constant over different cultures or in the same culture over time.

Sure, growing up in a rice culture probably makes you more mathematically inclined, and probably moreso at one time than another. But how do they relate to male counterparts outside of cultural conditioning?

All I'm saying is, it seems to me that many things have both nature and nurture components. Just because nurture is often far more powerful than nature doesn't mean the latter doesn't exist. And I wouldn't be surprised to hear that females are naturally more empathetic to begin with, as a function of human physiology. It wouldn't have helped our species much if mothers weren't naturally protective and attached to their children.

Re:Finally explains it (2)

TitusC3v5 (608284) | about a year and a half ago | (#41834727)

I'm sure that has nothing at all to do with the fact that little girls are generally given what amounts to replica babies to play with while boys are given action-oriented toys instead.

Re:Finally explains it (5, Insightful)

samoanbiscuit (1273176) | about a year and a half ago | (#41834741)

Kids are gendered from birth onwards. I have a little cousin being reared in the house next to mine, and he's treated roughly (not painfully, just roughly) because "he's a boy and he needs to be tough". He's only 6 months old. If that's the kind of conditioning he's receiving, of course he'll be a rough and tumble terror when he's a toddler. He's also encouraged, at 6 months old, to exert himself and roughly handle/break things. I don't think he'd be encouraged to do such things if he were a female.

Re:Finally explains it (5, Funny)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#41833853)

I think this explains why conversations on facebook back when I used to have an account were ridiculous stupid and conversations on /. are usually well above room temp IQ but perhaps lacking in some civility.

FB: "Boo hoo I think I'm catchcing a cold, ironically; I can't figure the first derivative of 1/x"

FB: Oh you poor baby lets play farmville together till you feel better, have you tried aromatherapy yet for the cold?

/. : "Boo hoo I think I'm catchcing a cold, ironically; I can't figure the first derivative of 1/x"

/. : "You Fing idiot you can't even spell catching, don't know what irony is, and if you could spell google correctly instead of spelling it as /., you'd see its -1/x^2"

Re:Finally explains it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834075)

"conversations on /. are usually well above room temp IQ"

But usually well below Saharan daytime temps.

Re:Finally explains it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834635)

In which units?

Re:Finally explains it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834379)

you'd see its -1/x^2

it's

Re:Finally explains it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834599)

Boo hoo I think I'm catchcing a cold, ironically

Must be a disease hipster.

Stupidity Represses Insight (1)

kawabago (551139) | about a year and a half ago | (#41833639)

Can I have my Phd now?

Re:Stupidity Represses Insight (2)

arisvega (1414195) | about a year and a half ago | (#41834069)

Can I have my Phd now?

If you showed it "for the first time", sure you can. With a publication on a "high-profile journal" on the side.

Teachers / Salesman (1)

Shamanin (561998) | about a year and a half ago | (#41833675)

Makes sense why sales pitches given in the context of "hands-on" training work so well...

(they are evil I tell you)

Re:Teachers / Salesman (1)

Shamanin (561998) | about a year and a half ago | (#41834085)

WTF - don't link your soci(opathic)-political rants to my post!

"hands-off" jack

the Democrat party (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41833683)

"When the brain fires up the network of neurons that allows us to empathize, it suppresses the network used for analysis"

And hence you have the Democrat party platform in a nutshell.

Re:the Democrat party (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41833861)

Then how do you explain Rethuglicans? They lack both empathy and analytic thought. Their "plan" is to do the same thing over and over again, almost to the point of obsession. They expect others to think and act like they do. Hold on, isn't that the way asspies act? I say so. Rethuglicans are white and all asspies are white. Coincidence? I think not. Now we know that all cuntservatives are asspies.

Re:the Democrat party (5, Insightful)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about a year and a half ago | (#41834313)

Actually if you note their campaigning methods you'll see that they spend most of their time attempting to play to emotions rather than facts and logic. It is no coincidence that their talking points focus on issues more likely to provoke a visceral reaction in the public such as religion, abortion, don't tread on me, and military/defense.

Re:the Democrat party (5, Insightful)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a year and a half ago | (#41834479)

Conservatives, so the old tradition went, have heads but no hearts. Liberals have hearts, but no heads.

Somehow, somewhere, something went terribly wrong.

Re:the Democrat party (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834615)

Yes, emotion as in asspie meltdowns. Rethuglicans have such meltdowns constantly. What they lack is empathy and logic, the same as asspies. The reason for that is the old neanderthal genes still present in asspies/Rethuglicans. The neanderthals lacked empathy and logic, which is why they were pretty well weeded out of the gene pool.

Re:the Democrat party (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41833903)

As opposed to cock-sucking assholes like you that comprise the rethuglican party.

Re:the Democrat party (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834101)

Typical comment from a "sensitive" Democrap.

Re:the Democrat party (4, Insightful)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | about a year and a half ago | (#41834109)

Most religious conservatives are NOT analytical thinkers. The same is true of conspiracy nuts (ex: birthers). The majority of both are Republicans.

Re:the Democrat party (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834503)

"religious conservatives" "rethuglican" "Their "plan" is to do the same thing over and over again, almost to the point of obsession"

You understand I just come here to laugh at you idiots, and plan to do a lot of it come Nov 6th and 7th.

Bwahahahahhaa. Suck on it drones.

Re:the Democrat party (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a year and a half ago | (#41834573)

What is this "Democrat Party" you speak of? Democrats belong to the Democratic Party.

I can only assume that either:

A) You are illustrating your vast intellect and knowledge of American political parties

B) You are quacking out an automated emotional response from the canned set of approved Republican put-downs (Call them the DEMOCRAT party so they won't sound like they're democratic - i.e. believe in democracy).

I hope it's B. That means you're a puppet and I can make you dance when I pull the strings. Here boy! Socialism! Socialism! Big Government! Tax the Rich! NO NUKES!!!

Observed this many times in women... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41833715)

Just swap empathetic with emotional (Yeah different, but related definitions.) and all I have to do is look/listen to my spouse in the morning to see what wife I will spend the day with.
If she is overly emotional, no amount of logic or analysis with help with anything. It's gonna be a rough day for me.
If she is overly analytical of what I do or say, there is nothing I can do or say, even gifts of chocolate, will not sway her from her incorrect analysis of my mistakes.

Women, you can;t live with 'em.

(Posting as AC becuace my spouse reads slashdot and this post will cause her to fly off the handle.)

Re:Observed this many times in women... (5, Funny)

Ironhandx (1762146) | about a year and a half ago | (#41833777)

Slashdot husbands of even semi-suspicious wives around the world have to hide now thanks to this one AC.

Well done sir.

(Posting to hopefully clear my own name)

Re:Observed this many times in women... (5, Funny)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#41833945)

(Posting to hopefully clear my own name)

Yeah that's exactly the kind of post I'd write to clear my own name if I was the OP. Unless she knows that I know that she knows... I believe this is a recursive trap we've entered here.

Re:Observed this many times in women... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834091)

Just swap empathetic with emotional (Yeah different, but related definitions.) and all I have to do is look/listen to my spouse in the morning to see what wife I will spend the day with. If she is overly emotional, no amount of logic or analysis with help with anything. It's gonna be a rough day for me. If she is overly analytical of what I do or say, there is nothing I can do or say, even gifts of chocolate, will not sway her from her incorrect analysis of my mistakes.

Women, you can;t live with 'em.

(Posting as AC becuace my spouse reads slashdot and this post will cause her to fly off the handle.)

I know it's you: we will discuss this VERY carefully later today. Now, take the trash out.

Re:Observed this many times in women... (3, Insightful)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year and a half ago | (#41834265)

Yeah, but have you observed any sort of noticeable cycle or pattern to it, perhaps a biorhythm that maybe seems to entrain to the phase of the moon? ;>) (joke)
.

For the not joking part of this comment, I have to say that I'm not (yet?) experiencing the monthly moody emotionalness that I observe in many of my female peers. I do have the physical water-retention, the physical pain that ibuprofen cannot solve, and the aches, but not the emotional stress aspect. Maybe that happens a little further in life? Or is it a psycho-social thing: you expect it to happen so you make it happen... The packs of women/girls roving together in a high-school do form cliques and do reinforce each others' behaviours and attitudes...

Re:Observed this many times in women... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834499)

I think it really varies by the individual. My wife doesn't really seem to experience the mood swings at all (or at least has the self-control to not take it out on others if she's feeling a little off), which I'm quite thankful for. Some of my friends' wives/girlfriends ... yeah, you just want to avoid them for about a week if you know what's good for you.

Sooooo..... (4, Funny)

robinsonne (952701) | about a year and a half ago | (#41833737)

So people that work in IT gain less and less empathy for their users? Hmmmm....

Re:Sooooo..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834543)

Depends why you think you work in IT.

This certainly explains Liberals! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41833753)

Zing! Election is only a week away folks.

Relativity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41833765)

Analytic thought is usually the simplistic attempt to measure who is tough and "able". He who is able to measure the relative "ableness" is the hero. Bad performance because of storms: failure; change company. Good result because of excessive wealth and bodyguards: good performance: promotion. Select N number of good/bad performing individuals and you see that the people with bodyguard will perform the best. Period.

Paradox. (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#41833775)

Rational analysis will lead to better outcomes than emotionally driven behavior. So if you want good things to happen to the most people, which most empathetic people would, then you should eschew empathy and be as rational as possible.

Not a Paradox (5, Insightful)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about a year and a half ago | (#41833935)

I think your proof falls apart with your first statement "Rational analysis will lead to better outcomes than emotionally driven behavior." This might be evidence of the opposite. That empathic behavior is more likely to get you laid and produce children than rational behavior.

Re:Not a Paradox (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834443)

Agreed. 'Better' only makes sense within a specific context, which is not defined in presented statement.
Empathy is seldom 'emotionaly driven behavior', unless you are an animal or an instance that cannot contain itself. Empathy may be used for an analytical purpose, too.

Re:Paradox. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41833943)

Empathy is the capacity to recognize feelings that are being experienced by another sentient being, not necessarily to want good things for them.

You can imagine what it is like to be in another person's shoes without caring about the person currently in them.

No Paradox.

Re:Paradox. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41833963)

Maybe. It's quite possible for rational behaviors to deliver what a greedy algorithm would and fail to find an optimal societal solution to a problem, where empathy might have gotten there. I doubt we'd be where we are based solely on rational behavior.

It's a nice idea that rational thought is the way to go, but I don't think it's really true. Not without absolute trust.

Re:Paradox. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834005)

As long as there are some emotionally-driven people in your life, going toward an extremely rational mindset won't necessarily result in better outcomes. Also, I would posit that most people, even extremely rational ones (possibly even you), aren't always aware when they're in a rational or emotional state, and if we don't first teach people to recognize the emotions they're experiencing, we'll only create people who are emotionally suppressed and who think logic and rationality are the same thing. Lastly, there are some decisions that can only be made emotionlly, which is actually one of the great parts of being human. I hope we never reach the day where logic totally rules. More logic than now? Yes, please. Totally logic oriented? No thank you.

Re:Paradox. (1)

tonywong (96839) | about a year and a half ago | (#41834079)

Better outcomes for whom? Your rationality would allow you to give up on someone you may care about because rationally speaking, it isn't worth the effort to stay with/keep caring for them. The overall expenditure may be rationalized to be lower for society but individual empathy for individuals can modify such behaviour so that you would spend more for people you care about.

Not necessarily a paradox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834155)

Maybe it's not rational to want good things happen to "most" people? Then a rational solution wouldn't do things which result in good things happening to most people.

Maybe a rational solution is only have good things happen to very few people, while the rest simply slave away to keep those few people happy.

It's basically how every tyranny has run, and many other species have strict hierarchies (i.e. ants and bees). If one is to think rationally, then one cannot rule out tyranny and slavery as taboo.

Re:Paradox. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834241)

If I always followed my rational mind, I would miss out of the greatest opportunities in my lifetime, and I consider them far greater than any mean or average you see the world through. I pity such small-mindedness, however, I also disagree with this research that empathy and rationality are opposed to eachother, just that the majority of people have neither noticed- or nurtured the skill to balance empathy (inspiration) and rationality (vehicle).

Re:Paradox. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834263)

Scientists confirm 'sleeping on it' helps make decisions, news at 11.

It probably takes time for the brain to switch modes back and forth to ponder things from different perspectives.

Re:Paradox. (1)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | about a year and a half ago | (#41834491)

Rational analysis will lead to better outcomes than emotionally driven behavior. So if you want good things to happen to the most people, which most empathetic people would, then you should eschew empathy and be as rational as possible.

Except that, without empathy, you don't want good things to happen to the most people. You'd only care about the good things happening to you.

Re:Paradox. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834759)

Why do you assume that? If anything a rational person would better understand the concept of the greater good than an empathically driven person.

Re:Paradox. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834525)

Reminds me of the Widowmaker. Captain is a pain in the you know what the whole movie and then at the end you see why.

Re:Paradox. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834617)

Really? I make a good living because of my analytical abilities. I make a very good living because of my abilities to empathize with the clients. I guess I can't do both at the same time.

Re:Paradox. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834625)

Rational analysis will lead to better outcomes than emotionally driven behavior.

Interesting hypothesis. Now show your work...

Most wars are started because of some sort of 'slight' and the inability to empathize with the ones on the other side...

Re:Paradox. (1)

White Flame (1074973) | about a year and a half ago | (#41834703)

No fundamental goal can be rationally justified, only steps to achieve that goal can.

Fundamental goals are arbitrary, irrational, and fall in line with emotion and empathy. Once established, however, you can use rational analysis to figure out how to achieve that irrational goal.

Empathy also bounds the space in which rational analysis searches, because irrationality allows for conflicting and competing goals, having some arbitrary measure to weight and decide between what is offered in the search to reduce offending secondary irrational goals.

So really, you need both to optimize a human/sociological situation, and it will never converge on a single optimum.

Makes Sense (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41833829)

It explains perfectly why Democrats are the way they are... So busy "feeling" everyone's "pain' they can't (and won't) think rationally about the consequences of their actions.

You think that's something!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834033)

How about Republicans who want to stop abortions knowing full well the strain the present population is putting on the planets resources?

Re:You think that's something!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834323)

I have a simple solution. The least productive people in the world will starve to death. People who have 17 children and can't feed them will soon have much less than 17 children. Problem solved.

The greater internet fuckwad theory needs rework (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41833839)

The internet is not full of absolute fuckwads, it just encourages analytical thought. Like, a lot.

Its On Sale (1)

agrisea (877522) | about a year and a half ago | (#41833893)

"New research shows a simple reason why even the most intelligent, complex brains can be taken by a swindler's story – one that upon a second look offers clues it was false."

So that also explains Sales. Even a half-wit like me knows that when Safeway does a "buy one, get one free" sale, they went around jacking up all their prices before the event, like we would not notice. It is simply amazing just how much quarterly profit Safeway has made since the economy went poof.

Re:Its On Sale (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834017)

This reminds me of being in college listening to dorm mates talking about their psych classes... you had to hold back from constantly interrupting and saying, "But isn't that like, totally obvious?"

re: two competing networks within the brain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41833951)

It should also be noted to not underestimate how the maturing process tends to cause one network to more often prevail over the other. Hence the concluding part of the familiar adage "... and if you're not a conservative by the time you're 40, you have no brain." I'm seeing the beginnings of this shift in my intelligent, albeit socialist younger sister right now, and it's a trip.

All you complainers (5, Funny)

DarkOx (621550) | about a year and a half ago | (#41833959)

See all of you kept crying about how all our C?O and Political leaders are psychopaths were wrong. You should be happy about that. They are better at thinking than you are and no doubt producing more optimal solutions than you could.

Thank goodness we have these unfeeling psychopaths to lead us.

MBTI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41833979)

This brings some validation to the thinking-felling category of the myers briggs.
It also explains why it feels like my brain completely shuts down when I talk to an attractive women.

Religions work like that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41833991)

As irrational as they are, people believe.

Liberal vs Conservatives (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834013)

That explains the thought process of Liberals vs Conservatives.

Liberals think more with feeling and emotion, less with logic.
Conservatives think more with logic and reason, and less with empathy.

Re:Liberal vs Conservatives (5, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | about a year and a half ago | (#41834473)

That explains the thought process of Liberals vs Conservatives.

Well, except that it doesn't.

Liberals think more with feeling and emotion, less with logic. Conservatives think more with logic and reason, and less with empathy.

If it were as you suggest, emotional, non-rational appeals to tradition, religious values, nationalism, etc., would be particularly ineffective in motivating conservatives. In the real world, both groups are diverse and include both more-analytical and and more-emotional thinkers. There are plenty of studies showing indications of various cognitive differences between conservatives and liberals, but the particular one you suggest isn't one of them.

Re:Liberal vs Conservatives (2)

Kreegalor (2751567) | about a year and a half ago | (#41834641)

I think you might be mixing up feelings and emotions with empathy.

Empathy is the ability to recognize the feelings experienced by others.

So
Liberals tend to have more feelings and emotions and be more empathetic to others, so they make illogical and unreasonable decisions based on feelings and emotions..
Conservatives think more with their own feelings and emotions but their level of empathy is lower, so they reason out a logical solution from unreasonable and illogical starting points.

Obviously. (0)

udachny (2454394) | about a year and a half ago | (#41834105)

I could have told you this without any studies. This is not news, anybody can see that people who are considered 'to the left' or 'progressives', those who describe themselves as 'for the people' lose ability to think critically when it comes to the inevitable consequences of their ideology. They cannot follow a simple thread of economic analysis based on first principles, they have an immediate emotional response ready for anybody, who suggests that their pattern of thinking is invalid and gives them reasons that explain why that is.

Examples:

  • whenever I bring up a point that public education should be abolished, the immediate accusation back is: you do not care about education, students, you want people to be uneducated. Obviously this is not what I am talking about at all, the fact is that the education system is broken and cannot be not broken if it is handled by the central planners and the collective via government force, rather than allowed to work itself out in the free market. So it's not being 'against education', it's about being against public funding.
  • the term 'trickle down economics' is used as a pejorative of some sort, it's not an actual economic theory, it's just something people like to say because they basically oppose free market capitalism. Trickle down economics is a political statement, but it actually means supply side economics. When this is explained to the people and it is shown to them that all economics is supply side and not demand, they revolt not based on any rational thought, they are just upset that their ideology does not stand to scrutiny. How about that demand during the hurricane, is it destroyed? No, but the supply side is interrupted and immediately there are problem. People accuse sellers of 'gouging', not realizing that pricing is a fluid feed back system, prices shouldn't be fixed and if they go up in a disaster, this is simply the most efficient way to allocate scarce resources until the supply lines are restored.
  • Minimum wages clearly hurt people who have little skills, minimum wage prevents jobs from being created at low pay levels, that would allow people with no skills to enter the workforce and eventually improve their skills and pay level as well. People revolt at the thought that there can be an employment opportunity where the job pays less than some arbitrary level 'at which a person cannot survive on his own'. Well, it can be useful to people who are not still surviving on their own anyway, people who live together with family, friends and share accommodations and other fees. Minimum wage prevents legitimate jobs from appearing by making them illegal, prevents people from getting low paying jobs that would propel them further in their working lives. Minimum wage creates unemployment and dependency because it is of-course coupled with various welfare schemes by government. It is a bad economic policy, but people's emotions stand in the way of understanding this analytically.
  • income taxes are the most damaging taxes that can possibly exist, because of the effect they have on the economy. There can be no tax invented, if it was tried on purpose, that would hurt the economy as much as income taxes do (well, of-course if owning slaves is not legalized of-course). Progressive tax rate are even worse than just the income tax itself, because while income tax is just an attack on the economy, progressive income tax is also a discriminatory attack on the group of people in the economy that are significantly more important to maintain a working economy. Progressive taxes require discrimination against some people and not against others in order to provide outcomes that are equal for different people. There is an emotional revolt against this simply analysis, it's irrational but it exists and prevents erodes health of the economy.
  • SS, Medicare, EI and such, these are terrible if handled by government. People revolt against that idea based on an emotional response. "We paid into it, it's a social contract, etc.". Analysis shows that people didn't pay into anything specific. Nobody paid into SS, nobody paid into Medicare. People who paid taxes that are somewhat related to those programs (but not if you asked gov't back, when the SCOTUS was asking that very question, when these programs were opposed initially), the people who paid initially paid only a fraction of what they are getting out of these programs. They paid much less than any generation after them, in nominal terms in real terms, as a percentage of their earnings, from every perspective. The money was spent on programs unrelated to SS and Medicare, IOUs were put into the so called 'funds'. The fact that if it's not a real interest bearing asset, then it's not a fund, it's a pyramid scheme, it's financed like a pyramid scheme, this fact creates an emotional revolt. For every dollar that was collected, a dollar was spent on something else, a bond was printed and placed into the so called 'fund'. To raise money from the bond to pay the benefit, the bond must be sold in the market. The interest must be paid and then more taxes must be collected to buy the bond back. So at the best case scenario, every dollar that is paid 'out of fund', is a dollar that was collected in taxes previously and another dollar that will be collected in taxes later and the interest rate that must be paid to the bond holder. In reality it's much worse than that, because people who paid taxes previously, paid 1/10 to 1/3 of what they are getting out. Try and explain to people that they would be immeasurably better off not to pay these taxes at all but to invest their own money into their own retirement and medical care however they wanted to, and people jump at you, but not because of logic.
  • military spending should be cut by over 90% in USA and all offensive wars should stop. Well, today fewer people have a negative response to that but very few would agree to cutting government spending that way, again, they would make all sorts of emotional arguments not based on any analysis.
  • all government spending hurts the economy, government spending by definition cannot solve any economic problems it can only make them worse. The emotional response to this is severe, but no analytics is applied. Government doesn't produce anything and any spending it does is with money that is taken out of the productive economy out of productive people and then spent on the items created by productive people, so the money is taken out of economy twice. Never mind that the gov't itself grows because of this and people and other scarce resources are moved from private to public sector increasing the imbalance.

This list never stops, the responses to these concerns are based on emotions and not analytics. The problem with emotional responses is that they are almost always are the exact opposite of what the analytical response would provide, so they are objectively wrong and damaging, but they prevail, I guess the reasons for it can be explained by studies.

Re:Obviously. (1)

preaction (1526109) | about a year and a half ago | (#41834709)

You've conflated "disagreeing with me" with "irrational response". The truth is always more in the middle.

So in other words... (1)

Schnoogs (1087081) | about a year and a half ago | (#41834117)

there's a scientific explanation for liberal politics

Re:So in other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834161)

There is never a scientific explanation for liberal anything.

India Nigger (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834179)

God says...

consolation.

6:25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you
that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.

6:26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did
their fathers to the false prophets.

6:27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them
which hate you, 6:28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them
which despitefully use you.

6:29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the
other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat
also.

6:30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh
away thy goods ask them not again.

Ergo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834213)

Humans are retards, no matter which way they spin.

Ahh, I see now (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834219)

That's why the nerds on Slashdot are all assholes.

Faulty Jump (4, Insightful)

erik.erikson (1821660) | about a year and a half ago | (#41834223)

It seems a faulty jump to go from the observations that the study participants did not use the two elements of cognition together to the assertion that one cannot use both capacities at the same time. At the very least it should be theoretically possible for neural connectivity to be established between the two sub-networks and as a result to activate both capabilities concurrently. Certainly we should be able to imagine circumstances where having such an ability would be advantageous, such as the processing and understanding of the experience but also wise and healthy reaction within the emotional interactions we engage in with our loved ones.

A sucker born every minute (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834227)

If you are a con man you already know that the empathic response is how to work a mark. What would be much more fascinating is to see how the anger response can mess with analytical thinking. Perhaps criminal psychopaths turn on analytical thinking only when angry, or are quick to anger when they do not get what they want.

Re:A sucker born every minute (3, Interesting)

dpidcoe (2606549) | about a year and a half ago | (#41834717)

As someone who played eve many years as a scammer (of the variety that didn't spam local chat), I can tell you that both empathy and anger have the effect of making people dumber. I went for empathy when I was trying to get someone to give me stuff. After they fell for the scam and realized they'd been had, I'd switch over and do everything I could to make them raging angry. Once they were sufficiently mad, I'd block them and then figure out a way to get them to to meet my other character in what appeared to them to be a chance encounter, then appeal to their sense of anger and convince them to take out a bounty hunter contract with me to "kill" my first scamming character.

big picture (2)

flyerbri (1519371) | about a year and a half ago | (#41834317)

Empathy also heightens big picture thinking.....

The more analytical, the more detail oriented. The less analytical, the more 'big picture' thinking..

that's the fact, jack...

And mice have tails... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834371)

Now there's a proof women can't do both at the same time, like they claim they do. Another candidate for Ig Nobel's prize.

The Fear Factor (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834393)

I guess that explains the constant focus on fear by conservatives. If you focus on that most powerful emotional response, people lose the rational ability to question the long term consequences of those actions. Like say, for example, starting a useless protracted war in a middle east nation, or cutting back at personal liberties to 'protect from the terrorists'.

Re:The Fear Factor (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834487)

And I guess that explains how liberals can continue to rob people blind by showing them pictures of people living in poverty and making them feel guilty, when in reality the people in the pictures don't want to get off their lazy asses and work and would rather sit there and take other people's money than have to exert any kind of effort in life.

See, I can make it political, too!

Sponsored by (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834397)

Brought to you by the Ayn Rand foundation.

The Right Tool for the Job (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834423)

Empathy is the ability to read emotional situations, to recognise and appreciate the emotions in others as emotions that you yourself feel, and to act on the basis of that appreciation.

Dealing with social situations, an analytical thought process should recognise a need for data - namely, a sense of what others are feeling or will feel as a consequence of a particular situation and how to interpret this sense - as an initial step towards any disassembly of the propositions it wishes to consider.

It makes sense that these two processes should be neurally distinct. But why should we think that because these are separate processes, people being entirely reasonable and mentally healthy might be vulnerable to confidence tricks?

Surely the most we can draw from this is that the Empathetic network is usefully distinct from the Analysis network when correctly functioning, rather than that it short-circuits it?

The proper solution comes from Dexter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41834651)

Always be analytical but fake emotions as appropriate. Also never be open with what you are thinking, nobody wants to hear the truth.

Examples:

wife: (some inane story about something that happened during the day that I'm not interested in)
incorrect answer: I have no interest in what you were just talking about
correct answer: thats interesting

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...