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Bullying Affects Social Status?

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the don't-want-another-swirly dept.

Science 392

An anonymous reader wrote to mention a ScienceDaily article about the social status effects of bullying on mice and men. From the article: "The results reveal neural mechanisms by which social learning is shaped by psychosocial experience and how antidepressants act in this particular brain circuit. They also suggest new strategies for treating mood disorders such as depression, social phobia and post-traumatic stress disorder, in which social withdrawal is a prominent symptom ... He and his colleagues also discovered that social defeat triggered an upheaval in gene expression in the target area of the circuit, the nucleus accumbens, located deep in the front part of the brain -- 309 genes increased in expression while 17 decreased."

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392 comments

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fuck you motherfuckers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14695168)

lick my sac

They get even later in life (1, Funny)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695315)

by modding you down as "Troll", "Offtopic", or "Flamebait". ;-)

my dad can beat your dad (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14695177)

at FIRST POSTS!!! roflcopter!

Good way to get your ass kicked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14695182)

"Without BDNF in the circuit, an animal can't learn that a social stimulus is threatening and respond appropriately," explained Nestler.

I hope nobody thinks this is a good thing...

Re:Good way to get your ass kicked (2, Interesting)

fa2k (881632) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695291)

"Without BDNF in the circuit, an animal can't learn that a social stimulus is threatening and respond appropriately," explained Nestler. I hope nobody thinks this is a good thing... Still, it's strange that the BDNF-enable gene ssurvived natural selection. If the mice avoid social situations, it would be hard to reproduce.

Re:Good way to get your ass kicked (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14695325)

Still, it's strange that the BDNF-enable gene ssurvived natural selection. If the mice avoid social situations, it would be hard to reproduce.
Not at all. It's just that they only get to breed with the skanks. Sort of like those of us who frequent Slashdot.

Re:Good way to get your ass kicked (2, Funny)

ral8158 (947954) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695344)

The slashdot crowd has been through that, I assume :)

news for nerds (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14695189)

If this isn't "news for nerds" I don't know what is.

and computer habits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14695190)

Many people use Linux as a way to rebel against their social inadequacies.

Re:and computer habits (2, Funny)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695357)

Many people use Linux as a way to rebel against their social inadequacies.

No, we use Linux for the same reason a dog licks his balls: because we can. If we were the submissives, we'd be afraid of learning anything new and just stick to the environment we're accustomed to, regardless of the cost.

Re:and computer habits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14695511)

Unlike those who stick with Microshit due to their mental inadequacies...

in other words.... (1)

Itanshi (861931) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695191)

getting beat up is a good thing? I swear by it, i got my ass kicked in high school and because of it, yes directly, i am no longer a pansy. i am now a man ^^, black eye and scraped skin. I can now say movies where the dog dies in the end of it (not necesarily just the one you are thinking of) make me cry (not using sarcasm).

Re:in other words.... (1)

Itanshi (861931) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695220)

meant, 'no longer make me cry' and to add to this, a black belt also got me in 8th grade, lala

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

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14695271)

meant, 'no longer make me cry'

Freudian slip, eh? Now we know you're crying on the inside. :)

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

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14695322)

You have been discovered, emo.

Interesting...you treat the victim not the cause.. (2, Insightful)

FatSean (18753) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695485)

Why is it that the bullied person must change? They are harming nobody through their actions. It is the violent bully who harms others. 'Fighting back' makes you feel better, but does nothing to solve the inherant problem: bullies.

In your own words, you thought less of yourself until you changed your behaviour to match that of the bullies who did you harm. You became one of them, in a way.

I think you are cheating yourself.

why is this here? (-1, Offtopic)

TedCheshireAcad (311748) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695192)

Because nobody who reads Slashdot ever got beaten up in high school...

Of Mice and Men? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695196)

An anonymous reader wrote to mention a ScienceDaily article about the social status effects of ... mice and men

Would the Steinbeck estate [wikipedia.org] object?

Re:Of Mice and Men? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14695397)

I think you'll find it would be Burn's estate.

"The best laid plans o mice and men gang aft astray"

Did you think Steinbeck plucked the title out of thin air?

not funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14695406)

aren't you so clever?

So maybe its the sleep deprivation (1)

Exsam (768226) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695211)

but what exactly does this article mean?

Re:So maybe its the sleep deprivation (3, Informative)

Crisses (776475) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695339)

This article is saying that being bullied leads to social discouragement. This leads to social self-estrangement -- the person (mouse, actually, but by extensions it may apply to humans) who has been bullied repeatedly eventually gives up trying to form social relationships and becomes more of a hermit.

The implications are that this is a neurochemical change because some of the effects of this discouragement can be reversed either by genetic differences or by anti-depressents that probably repress the mechanisms that change the brain chemistry towards social isolationism.

Re:So maybe its the sleep deprivation (1)

Andy Gardner (850877) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695606)

But aren't people bullied due to their social status?

False premise (5, Interesting)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695219)

Why it always assumed that social withdrawal is a sign of individual sickness - but not the group itself which should stand in judgement?

Re:False premise (5, Interesting)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695310)

Among the wise solitude has ever been the cure for the depression caused by having to deal with people.

As the great philosopher Van Pelt said:

"I love mankind, it's people I can't stand."

The "dogs" among the apes will never understand the "cats," however, even though they rely on them to keep watch over the tribe through the night, lest they all get eaten by lions while they sleep.

And what the lions are doing eating in their sleep I'll never know.

KFG

Re:False premise (4, Funny)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695474)

I like the version from "Clerks":

Randall: "I'm not going to miss what's probably going to be the social event of the season."
Dante: "You hate people!"
Randall: "But I love gatherings ... isn't it ironic?"

Or this one, from earlier:

Randall (to Dante about the customer who got offended by his speech, and then the nudie magazine that Randall opened in front of him): "That guy's an asshole. Everybody that comes in here is way too uptight. This job would be great if it wasn't for the fucking customers."

Re:False premise (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695521)

"This job would be great if it wasn't for the fucking customers."

Yeah, I've had that job too.

KFG

Re:False premise (4, Funny)

mctk (840035) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695333)

I'll kick your ass if you keep asking questions.

Re:False premise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14695334)

"Why it always assumed that social withdrawal is a sign of individual sickness - but not the group itself which should stand in judgement?"

Mod you +10 insightfull - I have to preface this by noting that I personally don't like most people, and could not claim to be a perfectly well adjusted individual, but then, very few could do the same anyways.

If you disagree with the parent's comment, I urge you to take a 10 minute ride on a packed bus full of highschool kids and then re-evaluate your conclusion.

   

Re:False premise (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14695402)

Why restrict the experiment to high school kids? Take a 10 minute ride on a city bus full of Negroes and Mestizos and you will be ready to join the Klan.

Re:False premise (1)

panth0r (722550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695622)

If you disagree with the parent's comment, I urge you to take a 10 minute ride on a packed bus full of highschool kids and then re-evaluate your conclusion.
Funny, if most of us /.'ers were to ride on a packed bus full of highschool kids, we could evaluate social withdraw, individual sickness, and group judgement and relate it all to our own behavior. If I had mod-points today, you'd get either funny or insightful, just for that.

Re:False premise (5, Interesting)

EccentricAnomaly (451326) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695377)

Why it always assumed that social withdrawal is a sign of individual sickness - but not the group itself which should stand in judgement?

You tell it, brother!!

You don't have to be outgoing type-A to be mentally healthy... or even what society considers mentally healthy to do well in this world. I recently heard an NPR story about how they've started to screen high school students with a questionnaire so that they can medicate people before they go off and kill themselves... but when I heard the 'warning signs' that they were looking for, I realized that they would have flagged me when I was in high school, and they would have tried to persuade my parents to medicate me. ...but the thing is that these medications kill all of your creativity (because lets face it creativity is often driven by depression and despair). I am positive that if I had been medicated I would not have accomplished even 10% of what I have accomplished in my life... things I have accomplished with my creativity and with a work ethic born of many, many failures. Sure, maybe I would have had more friends, and I probably would have gone to the prom, and maybe even gotten laid in high school... but I wouldn't have achieved nearly as much, and I probably wouldn't have been able to land my wife (who looks like a supermodel, but is also super-smart, and very funny).

Now my kids are in pre-school, and the teachers are concerned because they don't socialize well and have poor coordination... yeah my four year old reads at a first grade level... but they just see that as a sign of parents pushing too hard (we don't push him at all by the way, he's just a very curious kid). They want us to stop teaching him reading and math and try to push him more into sports and socializing... But I say, so what if he wants to be nerdy.. let him be nerdy.

Re:False premise (1)

Zero_Independent (664974) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695487)

Naw man, you need to tell the teacher to "lick my balls". That'll teach her to condescend to your family.

Tell her to worry more about the other stupid asses in the class who can't read as well as your son. What are they fucking retarded?

Let's face it. The number of friends you have has NEVER been a measure of success. Intelligence is the ONLY fucking thing that matters. People need to respect that.

Re:False premise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14695539)

Then again in our lovely society, it's not what you know that gets you ahead, it's who you know.

Re:False premise (1)

Mistshadow2k4 (748958) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695379)

I have to agree with some of the posts made to reply to this. The more people I meet, the more I like my cats. I don't know, maybe it's because I'm getting older and therefore more experienced, but it just seems to me that people's real motives shine through and I can all too easily discern how greedy, selfish and manipulative most are. People are unreally unpleasant the more you get to understand what motivates them, and you realize why this nice individual is being nice to you - chances are, it's not because he or she is actually a nice person. And what the hell is so wrong with being self-reliant anyway? Sounds a bit like fearing someone because they don't conform.

Re:False premise (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695472)

Absolutely nothing is wrong with being self reliant. In reality you can only rely on yourself anyway.

You should have the ability to cooperate with others, but you should not rely on others. This is a good thing because without this, people would not be motivated to start businesses. Most people start businesses because they don't want to rely on their boss to give them a paycheck. Maybe they don't want a boss at all. I don't think everyone has to be either a bully or a coward, I think a lot of people bypass that entire system and start a business. You look at Bill Gates, and he looks like he'd have been bullied in school, now he is the richest man in the world. You look at most of the CEO's in the tech industry and none of them look like they were tough in school, and now they have billions of dollars.

Bullying can help or harm a person depending on how they adapt to the experience. You have adapted by becoming jaded, and I admit I can understand why you see the world in that way, but you have to understand that there are nice people, that good people can and do exist even if they are rare.

Certain traits are just rare, honesty is rare, loyalty is rare, then you have traits which arent so rare, like intelligence and good looks. Most people hire on intelligence and good looks, and end up with manipulative jerks who all want money. Try hiring on a different set of personality traits if you run a business. If you don't run a business, then contribute your labor to a business which has people who are good people in them. There are plenty of businesses filled with good people, or with people who want to do good work. Money is not going to attract people to certain businesses, but the job might be better because you might not be surrounded by greedy manipulative people. It's your choice.

Re:False premise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14695384)

Always believe that which places the most responsibility on your shoulders, because it also grants you the greatest power.

It is not possible to change others. You can only hope to convince others to change. This can be exceedingly difficult when those others are part of the social norm.

But, you can always bring about change within yourself, if you desire.

Re:False premise (1)

LootenPlunder (941724) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695399)

the focus of treatment is not judging, its about solving people's problems. if you take a socially incompetent 25 year old and tell him the guys who beat him up in high school were assholes, then look them all up and tell them they were assholes, youre not going to solve anything. some people do try to deal with bullying by going after the group instead of the individual. there are misguided efforts to eliminate bullying altogether in many preschools and elementary schools. unfortunately, most are designed by women who dont understand the development of boys, so theyll probably end up turning the entire classes into pussies. if i ever have a kid, im sending him to a daycare center thats staffed entirely by superintelligent wolves. he'll get so many women it will be scary.

Re:False premise (3, Interesting)

SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695458)

Because most of the time social withdrawal is a sign of mental health issues. Are you going to try and prove otherwise? Or were you simply being argumentive and philosophical?

self-affirming dominance hierachy (1, Flamebait)

Cryofan (194126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695465)

the human animals at the top of the dominance hierarchy like it there. They are satisfied. So therefore they act as an ideological filter. They control the mass media and popular entertainment, and so any idea that makes it through their ideological filter, that idea gets disseminated.

Ideas that get disseminated are those that AFFIRM in a good way the dominance hierarchy now in existence. Meaning of course the "status quo."

Funny thing is that by definition any hierarchy must have only a few at the top.

However, Americans have ideologically been domesticated because the elite have evolved a culture that affirms power and the dominance hierarchy.

All societies do this to some degree, but the American culture used to be MUCH MORE critical of the dominance hierarchy. In part, this change is due to the mass media propaganda cultural evolution that the elite has worked upon America.
But part is also due to the benefits from technology and the steady accumulation of knowledge (which grows at an exponential rate). This technology advance makes us more comfortable than 100 years ago. So we put up with more of the dominance hierarchy.

The Ameican Revolution for example was really a revolution of the people against the elite, but the elite subverted it with the Declaration of Independence propaganda and other dirty tricks.

Anywho...

The cure for bullying? (5, Insightful)

NiteShaed (315799) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695225)

In extreme cases, such as people with actual social phobias, being able to better control their disorder with anti-depressants sounds fine, but I hope this doesn't get turned around so that the "treatment" for bullying is to medicate the victim and ignore the actual cause (the actual bully)

Re:The cure for bullying? (4, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695270)

Bingo. Bullying turns people into depressed loners -- wow, that's news.

I was bullied incessantly in elementary school and junior high, and acted, well, pretty much like the "normal" mice. In high school, this changed, but it wasn't because of a knockout gene. It was because I learned to fight back -- a knockout punch instead of a gene, you might say. We don't need more and better antidepressants. We need more instructors who know how to take scared, depressed geeks and turn them into fighters. And more bullies lying bleeding in school hallways spitting out their own teeth.

Re:The cure for bullying? (1)

mr_shifty (202071) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695407)

Damn skippy.

Whomever said "violence never solves anything" obviously never got the shit kicked out of him by 2 or 3 neanderthals after school.

I know one thing for sure. After I finally said "fuck this" and started defending myself, nobody ever messed with me in my school again. Period.

Re:The cure for bullying? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14695462)

And more bullies lying bleeding in school hallways spitting out their own teeth.

Yes! I call upon us to form a Geekocracy! Jocks will tremble in fear as those with poor vision and awkward social skillz strut fearlessly down the hallways. They'll be forced into seclusion with their little clubs like "football" and "exctasy ravers".

No, we need just and enforceable laws (4, Insightful)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695499)

Bullying should be treated in law as what it is - an assault on the person. When the parents of bullies realise that the outcome will be time in juvenile detention for their child and payment of damages by themselves - the problem will start to go away.

Violence that begets violence never ends. Violence that results in financial and social penalties has a limited life span.

Maybe I'm just cynical... (4, Insightful)

hcob$ (766699) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695228)

But.... Bullying is what made me the man I am today. I can easily pick out the "bully" in a group and then I can use intelligence, postioning, and execution to cull that person (or personality) from my work environment. It makes my life easier and the workplace easier to go to.

On a side note, if we can treat true depression and PTSD with a gene therapy, GREAT! It will allow Veterans who went through a horrible situation to undo the psych damage and return to a normal life. Same with clinical depression. Remove the behavioral restrictions and open that person up again. I see a much happier world if this actually comes to pass!

Re:Maybe I'm just cynical... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14695373)

Woo, goody for you. Unfortunately, bullying made me rather introverted and avoidant of social occasions, and 'bullies' in a group are damn annoying and generally too good at wrapping people around their finger to be 'culled'. Yes, I've known loads of bullies that were pretty good socialisers, the ones that are outcasts are generally not the problem.

Re:Maybe I'm just cynical... (1)

britneys 9th husband (741556) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695404)

I can use intelligence, postioning, and execution to cull that person (or personality) from my work environment.

Reminds me of that newspaper headline about the debate on capital punishment in the schools. Seems kind of harsh, but I guess it would cut down on the bullying.

Re:Maybe I'm just cynical... (4, Insightful)

Mistshadow2k4 (748958) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695405)

Um... the same thing can often apply with regards to depression, treating the cause rather than the sympton. God knows I went through enough of that when I was a kid. Gee whiz, I need to treat this poor little girl for depression. Wait, could it be her neglectful and abusive parents who make her depressed? Nah, that's pretty unlikely. Let's give her anti-depressants instead.

Clicnical depression - depression without an actual cause - is a separate problem, usually caused by a chemical imbalance. But many cases of depression are symptoms of other problems, and treating the person for depression rather than helping them with said problems isn't going to be very effective. Unfortunately, that's the approach most doctors take. (And a cynical person might note that since their problems aren't going away the doctor continues to make money for treating them.)

Mod parent up (1)

BorgCopyeditor (590345) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695457)

Well said. See also "cough medicine" and nasal decongestants.

Re:Maybe I'm just cynical... (1)

SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695468)

Yes, you are just cynical. Thanks for playing.

Re:Maybe I'm just cynical... (1)

Blind_Io_42 (821280) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695488)

New research indicates that applying a Beta-blocker, a blood pressure medication, shortly after a trauma has occured (ie, in the ER after a car accident) it can reduce the intense emotions associated with the memory of the event. One of the critical features of PTSD is experiencing flashbacks, these are not the same as memories, but are the actuall sensations of the traumatic event combined with intense emotion. Unlike the way this treatment is described in the media, it does not "erase" the bad memory, but it lessens the initial physiological link in the brain between that memory and autonomic nervous system arousal. One can remember the event but at an intensity less than that of PTSD. People suffering from PTSD are traumatized over and over as they suffer from the re-experiencing of the event, this is one of the reasons the disorder can be difficult to treat, with every flashback the neural pathway is strengthened. The beta blocker prevents that imprinting in the first place.

Exactly (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695507)

This is the correct way to deal with it. You are right, there are ways to intellectually fight bullies. Bullies can only bully you when they have the advantage, either politically, economically, physically, etc. The only way to deal with a bully is to use your advantages against theirs. If the bully is not smarter than you, then all their advantages will be worthless.

If you work with a bully and they arent your boss, then you are equals. It's you against them. It does make perfect sense to take on the bully first because its your job to control the environment in which you work, and if you don't want to work with an asshole you shouldnt quit your job.

Ultimately, bullying is about power, if you don't want to be bullied, then you need access to power. This does not need to be physical power, you may have legal power, you may have intelligence power, any kind of power is all you need to counter a bully.

Let me see if I got this (1)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695230)

So parents don't have to be responsible for their bullying child anymore?

I think this novel approach to this problem is a great advancement and may lead to ways of fixing social disorders that do not result from bullying but if we could only get parents to take responsibility for their kids. Its the same problem is so many other things, video game blame games, obesity, school shootings, teenage promiscuity, ect et al. We can't control others so we have to control ourselves, I guess. Don't get me wrong, I support this; I'm just lamenting that there seems to be no other way.

Re:Let me see if I got this (1)

Ninwa (583633) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695562)

"...teenage promiscuity..."

Whoa whoa whoa... this is a problem?

Cultural impacts of antidepressants (4, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695232)

This study is interesting because it ties antidepressants right back to behavior. The percentage of Americans who use antidepressants is at least 15% and rising [cdc.gov] . Taken together, this means a sizeable segment of society is acting differently than they would have before. What, I wonder, are the aggregate impacts on society?

Mod Aticle: -1 Obvious (3, Funny)

OctoberSky (888619) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695236)

Isn't this Slashdot? News for Nerds?

I think this crowd knows very well the effects of bullying.

Why (1)

lheal (86013) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695396)

you little pipsqueak, come over here and say that!

Taxation as a bully (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14695250)

Do you mean like the CRA or IRS? Guess I need drugs to calm me down.

Of course it does! (1)

KrancHammer (416371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695260)

This supports anthropological observations of non-human primates. Low-grade harassment or even outright attack allows adolescent primates to sort out their relative status early. Humans aren't any different from our cousins in this regard. Bullying is a tactic to determine status. A harassed, bullied animal or human that doesn't hold its or his or her own is going to retreat. Naturally.

A Man's A Man for A' That. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14695262)

Is there for honest poverty
That hings his head, an a' that?
The coward slave, we pass him by -
We dare be poor for a' that!
For a' that, an a' that,
Our toils obscure, an a' that,
The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
The man's the gowd for a' that.

What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin grey, an a' that?
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine -
A man's a man for a' that.
For a' that, an a' that.
Their tinsel show, an a' that,
The honest man, tho e'er sae poor,
Is king o men for a' that.

Ye see you birkie ca'd 'a lord,'
What struts, an stares, an a' that?
Tho hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a cuif for a' that.
For a' that, an a' that,
His ribband, star, an a' that,
The man o independent mind,
He looks an laughs at a' that.

A prince can mak a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, an a' that!
But an honest man's aboon his might -
Guid faith, he mauna fa' that!
For a' that, an a' that,
Their dignities, an a' that,
The pith o sense an pride o worth.
Are higher rank than a' that.

Then let us pray that come it may
[As come it will for a' that],
That Sense and Worth o'er a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree an a' that.
For a' that, an a' that,
It's comin yet for a' that,
That man to man, the world, o'er
Shall brithers be for a' that.

Robert Burns

They studied the wrong mice... (5, Insightful)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695265)

Improved anti-depressant treatments are nice and all, but how about a treatment for the source of the problem: the bully. There are enough cases of kids picked on past the breaking point, that we should learn to focus on treating the cause not the symptoms of social abuse. Give the drugs to the jerks who feel the need to dominate and humliate.

Because (1)

themusicgod1 (241799) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695448)

every problem can be solved with sufficient doses of drugs.

Re:They studied the wrong mice... (1)

SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695497)

You don't think they are studying the other side of the problem? Do you think it would have been a better idea to offer no kind of solutions to anyone until the perfect solution has been discovered?

This, of course, ignores that fact that a victim will often realise that there is a problem, where as the bully (or whoever) will not. And in cases like that, you would be medicating someone against their will.

Re:They studied the wrong mice... (1)

Excelsior (164338) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695535)

Give the drugs to the jerks who feel the need to dominate and humliate.

The bullies already have the drugs. Then they bully everyone else to buy them...

Re:They studied the wrong mice... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14695602)

Wrong mice? ...Are you thinking what I'm thinking, Pinky?

Bullying affects Politics? (5, Interesting)

Speare (84249) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695275)

I've also wondered if being the victim of bullying affected the socio-political choices you make in the future. For example, do those who've never experienced bulling see more or less need for protecting civil liberties and privacy? Do those who were loners in school see more or less need for organized labor? And so on.

I'm not saying Republicans are bullies and Democrats are victims or anything, but there sure seem to be a lot of people who just don't "get" the need for judicial oversight, fair representation in court or congress, support for the poor, or the concept of a truly open marketplace.

Re:Bullying affects Politics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14695288)

One could take it the other way. Democrats are considered by many to be soft on crime and punishment. Someone who is a victim of a bully may see the need for a stronger and harsher justice system and vote for conservatives who support lengthy sentences, the death penalty, and other misc. realated criminal policies.

Re:Bullying affects Politics? (2, Insightful)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695431)

I'm not saying Republicans are bullies and Democrats are victims or anything

I'd also argue just the opposite. Conservatives appeal more than anything to fear: fear of racial and ethnic out-groups, fear of crime, fear of terrorism, fear of things that go bump in the night. They are quick to choose safety in the "safety vs. liberty" debate, even when the tradeoff itself is an illusion. Their prediliction for harsh and preemptive treatment of everyone they percieve as threats masquerades as strength, when in reality it's more like the weakness of a frightened child, crying from under the bed for a parent to protect him from the monsters in the closet.

They say a conservative is a liberal who's been the victim of a crime, and maybe there's some truth to that.

Re:Bullying affects Politics? (1)

sgt_doom (655561) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695609)

Your comment has merit. How many of these neocons actually served in the combat, let alone even in the military service. I have nothing against Senator McCain, but let's face it, the dude has basically no combat service. The first sortie he flew on he was immediately shot down and served all his time in the theater of combat as a POW.

And as for deserter Bush and draft-dodger Cheney, the less said the better.....

Not at all (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695444)

People respond to bullying in different ways. One way is to run and tell the teacher, the other way is to fight back and get beat up. I think there are Democrats and Republicans who like big government and use the government as a teacher, and you have people who may fight back in either party, or who are independents.

So that is a difficult question. Civil Liberties, you'd think that if the government is big and powerful enough that everyone, bullies included would lose civil liberties, but I suppose they'd also be the first to fight to keep them.

Re:Bullying affects Politics? (1)

BorgCopyeditor (590345) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695527)

  • Both major parties probably have a substantial number of adherents who join up because they want to associate themselves with what they think will become the dominant group, whether through force or superior justice or whatever.
  • They also have some who sign up because they expect direct benefits to their subgroup (e.g., corporate welfare to this or that industry, helpful contracts, labor laws, anti-discrimination laws).
  • Related to this, but I think distinguishable, each party has some who think their individual ambitions to power will best be realized through adherence to this particular group.
  • Finally, some small number on each side are there because they've tried to reason out what would be the best policies for a society and have concluded that one or the other party comes closest.

This is not an exhaustive list, nor are these exclusive possibilities: the same person can have one or more of these or other motivations, I think.

All of this makes me think that "bullied/bullies" is never going to sort out to "Democrats/Republicans" very neatly. There may be a tendency in one or the other direction at any given time, but I expect that the multiplicity and complexity of reasons why people affiliate themselves in these ways makes any correlation difficult to predict.

Something to chew on (2, Interesting)

grimJester (890090) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695632)

I'm not saying Republicans are bullies and Democrats are victims or anything, but there sure seem to be a lot of people who just don't "get" the need for judicial oversight, fair representation in court or congress, support for the poor, or the concept of a truly open marketplace.

There are loads of people in this discussion who seem to think this treatment is bad because punishing the bully should come first. The issues you describe are more of a rational "take a step back" view on things, while reacting with anger, wanting to punish the bad guy, seems to be an emotional reaction, something the victim would see as the problem before he's had a chance to calm down.

Consider this; a bully pushes you in the schoolyard, you fall, scrape your knee and start crying. A teacher saw the whole thing and walks up. What would you want to happen? Revenge!

Now, you're the teacher and the same thing happens. A little kid pushes another. The other scrapes his knee, starts crying. He's now on the ground, bleeding and crying. Which kid do you handle first?

To bring it back to he left/right thing; "That bully nees a good ass-whupping" would be a right-wing view, imo.

Bitter Much? (0, Offtopic)

Etcetera (14711) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695282)


Somehow the headline "Bullying Affects Social Status?" on site that is sub-headed as "News for Nerds. Stuff that Matters." strikes me as a little -- well, self-soothing.

I thought the "Voices from the Hellmouth" days were over...

Mr Obvious gets paid (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695289)

This is another case of science finding the mechanism to explain what was already known for years, if not centuries. Since there is no method now known to mechanically adjust neural pathways, psychological methods must still be employed. As pointed out by others, each person can react to stimulus in different manners... for some, bad experiences can create a good outcome. This is the stuff that hazing and boot camps are meant to do.

Mechanically, or pharmacologically adjusting neural pathways is a dangerous thing. I wouldn't trust pharmocology companies to keep my best interests at heart.... ever! That said, the more that is known, the better we can learn to make life better....

Re:Mr Obvious gets paid (1)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695440)

pharmacologically adjusting neural pathways is a dangerous thing.

Nevertheless, many of us do it on a regular basis...

Re:Mr Obvious gets paid (1)

brianf711 (873109) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695495)

Mechanically, or pharmacologically adjusting neural pathways is a dangerous thing. I wouldn't trust pharmocology companies to keep my best interests at heart.... ever! That said, the more that is known, the better we can learn to make life better....

Hey, Tom Cruise, of course it is dangerous, but the alternative is people with severe pathologies (I don't mean a 7 year old with borderline ADHD) going untreated, which is both more dangerous (psychotics) and cruel (parkinson's disease and perhaps psychotics). In theory the FDA exists to reduce this risk to socially defined accetable levels. Furthermore, pharmaceutical companies realize that creating a drug that can treat the symptoms is a billion dollar industry, so they have an eye on your best interests, if you are one with the pathology (but see their other eye, the marketing department, which is a different post altogether).

Another completely incorrect story (0, Offtopic)

CXI (46706) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695321)

This title and summary are completely misleading. The study simply found that they could make mice ignore being bullied by breeding out a certain neurotransmitter. Why is this even on slashdot?

Re:Another completely incorrect story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14695501)

Possibly because it's about a scientific study that involves (or could involve) genetic engineering? On a related note, does anyone else see the connection between this story and the one about being able to breed fearless mice? Giving up is likely a key to survival in some situations.

The key to social success in not to care... (3, Insightful)

thx1138_az (163286) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695349)

I'm a nerd or certainly was for one for sure. A number of years ago I started studying Buddhism (no seriously). One of the more difficult concepts of Buddhism is something called Emptiness. Basically its a philosophy that none of this crap really matters because, well, it does really exist - hence emptiness. At least not in the way we think it does.

It is our attachment to what others think (social status) that causes our unhappiness, shame and embarrassment. So if it doesn't exist then there's nothing to be attached to and nothing to be fearful of. Once I came to deeply realize this I was able to exploit it (OK, it is not what the Buddha had in mind) and achieve a much elevated social status. Even though I don't care about it, it does make my life a little easier.

So the next time someone put you on the spot just shrug your shoulders and say "what ever".

Re:The key to social success in not to care... (1)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695516)

>So the next time someone put you on the spot just shrug your shoulders and say "what ever".

I haven't studied Buddhism but this does work. Sort of like the "Don't bring work home, leave it at work." idea, which does work wonders.

I suppose thats why they say "Your health and family are the most important things in your life" because you can't ignore them.

Re:The key to social success in not to care... (1)

sgt_doom (655561) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695636)

If you haven't read Thorsten Veblen in depth, please do so - you will find him brilliant. Veblen and Buddha were probably two of the most brilliant people who ever lived....

Bloom's Lucifer Principle (3, Interesting)

iiii (541004) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695366)

For a much more in depth look at this check out Howard Bloom's "The Lucifer Principle". [amazon.com] It is an amazing new insight on how evolution really works, as competition between groups (superorganisms). He analyzes in depth the mechanisms that make drive this process. One of the main mechanisms is the pecking order, and the affect of an organism's (including a human) status in the pecking order on its biology is significant and surprising. I thought this book was amazing, revolutionary, and jam-packed with new ideas that ring true, supported by research from all corners of science.

Re:Bloom's Lucifer Principle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14695500)

Pop-culture Renaissance man Bloom-former PR agent for the likes of Prince...

Re:Bloom's Lucifer Principle (1)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695574)

Haven't read the book, but the premise sounds solid. People - even many biologists - make the mistake of assuming that evolution works only at the level of the fitness and survival of individuals. For social animals like us, though, survival and reproduction has as much to do with the particular population that we're a part of, including its culture. Culture, much like our genes, is transmitted (with some modification) from each generation to the next. When one population succeeds and another fails in an evolutionary sense, it is probable that what has actually been "selected" is related more to cultural than genetic differences. To the extent that the frequencies of genes (haplotypes) also differ between the two populations, the result will look biologically like the triumph of whatever haplotype was prevalent in the winning population, even if it had nothing whatever to do with the success.

Bullys should be sent to counseling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14695385)

The thing about society is that it seems bullies are ignored or rewarded in society. Instead it should be the opposite. They have a problem obviously that they feel the need on picking on other people. Bullying only leads to worse problems. If there are signs of bullying in schools, then those bullies should be dealt with immediately. Send them to counseling, put them on prozac or some other method in order to have them stop their violent ways. Why should people suffer because some person can't stop acting like a wild pitt bull?

Bullying is effective - Basis for coping (5, Interesting)

behindthewall (231520) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695388)

What this appears to infer is that bullying is an effective social strategy. Perhaps I should say, of its own and in a limited social context.

Effective down to the biological level.

If we can acknowledge that, perhaps we can stop some of the frustrating rhetoric about how the bully is "wrong" and should be "understood".

So, the bully has something tangible to gain from their behavior. (And I mean not just the immediate response but the long term social implications.) Does "correcting" that behavior address the sole root of the problem? Or do we also need to give those bullied effective tools for dealing with the bullying and for maintaining self esteem? Do we let them know just how important it is to maintain that self-esteem? (The article is saying that in failing to do so, they essentially become hard-wired for a different and seemingly less satisfying social role).

The bullying exists within a social context with constraining bounds. The parent of a bullied child can't go an beat the cr*p out of the bully -- not without going to jail. There are already limits that have been decided upon. So, we get to make choices. Can we then also choose and foster, at least to some extent, the types of personalities we wish to see succeed? The type of society we with to propagate?

For my part, if I ever have kids, they will have martial arts training. That part is a simple decision for me. It won't solve every problem, but it will increase the odds considerably that they won't find themselves forced to be pushed around, at least physically. And perhaps a good instructor can help with some of the mental aspects, as well -- I understand that is an essential component of good training.

Bullying made me a brutally effective adult (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14695403)

I had more than my bad share of experiences growing up.

It taught me a few things;

- an extreme lack of respect for arbitrary authority
- people in power are worthless and not to be trusted
- most people are defective and broken, spineless followers
- knowing the above makes them easily manipulated

I credit bullying and lack of respect for social constructs with an extreme, passionate desire to succeed - at any cost. Rather than withdraw from society, I just used my brains to figure out how to manipulate people. Spent a year gaining weight and working out. Invested time in learning psychological techniques to maniupulate people. If you're smarter than the bullies; prove it.

20 years later, they call me boss.

I suspect my story is more common than you might think. Unfortunately, I also suspect bullying destroys far more people - but, hey, that's darwin for you.

Re:Bullying made me a brutally effective adult (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14695433)

In other words, you turned into an asshole. The mirrored bully. I can imagine what your workers must think about you. They probably give you the finger when you aren't looking.

Re:Bullying made me a brutally effective adult (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14695437)

So in other words, bullying just made you grow up and become a bully yourself.

Congratulations.

Re:Bullying made me a brutally effective adult (2, Interesting)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695455)

It's well known that abused children often grow up to be abusers themselves... Same thing going on here?

I was the Social Anxiety Disorder Poster Child ... (1)

StefanJ (88986) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695409)

. . . but I was to afraid to show up for the photo shoot.

I'm allowed to make jokes like that because, well . . .

STOP LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT!

. . . no, seriously, I know what those damn mice feel like . . ."

HEY, MR. HAND, SLUGGO GOING TO BE MEAN TO ME!

which means...? (2, Funny)

azakem (924479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695411)

Could someone please translate this into lay speak? Damn it, Jim, I'm a computer scientist, not a biologist!

Um... (3, Interesting)

kiracatgirl (791797) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695418)

How is this a good thing? It says that if they turn off your ability to learn the signs that a situation is potentially dangerous, you won't develop "social avoidance behaviour" due to bullying. That's nice, but wouldn't that mean you have to give the treatment BEFORE the subject is bullied? What does that due to being able to cope in real life? Would the subject end up being more prone to being mugged, raped, or caught in various violent situations due to his/her inability to recognize threatening behaviour and respond appropriately? This doesn't seem at all useful or even particularly enlightening. People know extensive bullying as a child often causes those social issues, and it'd be nice to get rid of them, but the only real solution is to get rid of the bullies - NOT to cripple the poor kids' ability to learn on the suspicion that they might be bullied later on.

Frist 45ot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14695428)

Memory not bullying (1)

brianf711 (873109) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695464)

This news article is in reference to a Science magazine article: (http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/sci;31 1/5762/864 [sciencemag.org] "Essential Role of BDNF in the Mesolimbic Dopamine Pathway in Social Defeat Stress").

This study is complicated because it relies on two systems, 1) a molecular learning system; 2) a neural-network-based reward / social-interaction pathway system. Social anxiety appears to rely on an input that creates a state, such as the recipient of repeated agression, and then storing that state. Simply, you have to realize you are the subject of aggression, that has to elevate an internal state and then you have to remember that state.

Memory has many hallmarks, which often include genetic regulation. There term "memory" is somewhat vague in molecular terms, but with a little hand waving, we can just use the common definition. BDNF has long been associated with molecular memory. It is not surprising that BDNF could have an role in learning a behavioral response to repeated aggression that transduces the signal to lasting genetic modifications. This is not to belittle the findings, as it is a great demonstration of the in vivo need for BDNF and confirms many predictions. This was one of the major findings of the study. It seems like the system may be a great model to study learning and memory at the genetic level and perhaps molecular levels as well in vivo.

Anti-depressants similarly would be expected to have a role in the pathway since they can treat the symptoms in humans. The authors themselves state, "The observation that chronic but not acute treatments with antidepressant partly restore social approach behavior in defeated mice further validates this model," which I agree supports the model they are presenting to study a reduced form of social interaction pathologies in humans, since both respond to similar treatment strategies. It is likely that anti-depressants are acting upstream of BDNF by reducing the stress-related or aggression-recepient-related signaling that leads to memory formation, though in my cursory reading of their paper, I did not see if the two phenomena occluded, that is mutually blocked one another, an indication that they are in the same pathway.

Regarding the title of the summary article linked from Slashdot, "Mice Lacking Social Memory Molecule Take Bullying In Stride," I think it is ignorant of the larger picture because mice lacking BDNF will also be essentially retarded, having deficits in memory, learning and the visual system. I guess they will be blissfully happy, but I think paints too rosy of a picture.

Re:Memory not bullying (1)

brianf711 (873109) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695552)

Sorry, but
There term "memory"... should read The term "memory"...
and
...an role... should read ... a role.

Read more about this in my study, "Coffee helps writing in pseudosocial contexts."

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14695512)

Linux is STILL for fags.

WAIT A MINUTE! RTFA... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14695513)

The social avoidance that normally develops when a mouse repeatedly experiences defeat by a dominant animal disappears when it lacks a gene for a memory molecule in a brain circuit for social learning, scientists funded by the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) have discovered. Mice engineered to lack this memory molecule continued to welcome strangers in spite of repeated social defeat. Their unaltered peers subjected to the same hard knocks became confirmed loners -- unless the researchers treated them with antidepressants.

This is no cure. Ignoring the problem doesn't make it go away. If there is something more pathetic than being picked on, it is KISSING UP and continuing to TREAT WITH RESPECT the very a-holes engaged in the bullying. What is this shit? Reverse engineer me the EXACT OPPOSITE.

Re:WAIT A MINUTE! RTFA... (3, Informative)

brianf711 (873109) | more than 8 years ago | (#14695580)

That is because this slashdot-linked review is an over-simplification of the actual study. The mice lacking the gene probably have lost the ability to remember they were subjected to aggression previously. That is they are behaving naively. They aren't kissing up, they just don't know they were picked on previously. You should read the F study RTFS http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/sci;311 /5762/864 [sciencemag.org] but your conclusion is supported by the article, from what I can see, maybe the article should RTFS.
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