Posted 21 декабря 2022,, 07:30

Published 21 декабря 2022,, 07:30

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:38

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:38

Animal instinct: why hatred of strangers wins love for neighbors

21 декабря 2022, 07:30
Scientists have found that people more often choose to harm their own social group, just not to help the opposing group.

Ivan Zubov

Social psychologists have long noted an extremely surprising phenomenon that very often manifests itself in various social groups, including the population of entire countries - support for various kinds of measures to combat an external threat, which obviously lead not so much to victory over the enemy, but to self-destruction of their communities. Indeed, what is the basis of this "hatred of strangers", which is often stronger than "love of one's own".

When hate is stronger than love

Russian analyst Sergey Karelov reports a discovery made by American scientists in this field:

“Let my cow die - if only the neighbor did not have two!

Experimental confirmation that "hatred of strangers" is stronger in us than "love of our own."

In the process of evolution, the “brain firmware” of Homo sapiens has undergone a number of qualitative changes that have made us fundamentally different from animals. As a result, the former animals turned into completely different creatures, whose nature combines an explosive cocktail of conflicting qualities of angels and demons.

I already wrote about the cocktail of good and evil in our "firmware". So now I'll tell you about another hellish-heavenly cocktail.

The new scientific work "People prefer to harm their own group, just not to help the opposing group" experimentally confirms the presence in us of yet another hellish-paradise cocktail of "hate for strangers" and "love for our own."

This cocktail works in us when making decisions concerning antagonistic social groups: our own (ours) and others (not ours).

The authors of the new work, Rachel Gershon and Ariel Friedman, after analyzing the results of six independent studies of the psychology of decision-making, showed that “out-of-group hatred” in us is definitely stronger than “in-group love”.

This work is unambiguous evidence that people are so unwilling to show support for an antagonistic "non-our" group that they are willing to pay for it by causing more harm to their own "our" group.

It is important to understand that this cocktail has a decisive influence on the support of “us and foe” by socio-demographic groups on absolutely any issues (political, social, military).

What follows is this:

  • the dominance in the psychology of people of the motivation to “cause evil to others” over the motivation to “minimize evil for one's own” becomes a key factor in the unwinding of evil spirals;
  • at the limit of such spirals, the antagonistic group is able to make collective decisions in favor of self-destruction, if only to deprive the opposing group of victory.

There's a lot to think about."

The main thing is to hang the right labels in time

Readers actively comment on this extremely topical topic for Russia today. So, Igor Solovyov explains the paradoxical group behavior by various kinds of manipulations:

“Examples of irrational behavior of people in life are quite common and are demonstrated in various experiments. Often people simply do not understand that their behavior is not rational, and sometimes they understand and deliberately behave irrationally. In the case of group irrational behavior to destroy strangers, the basic instincts developed as a result of natural selection, including the instinct of self-preservation, seem to work. As soon as people for some reason begin to believe that a threat comes from strangers, they try to destroy strangers as a source of threat, and are often ready to unconditionally fight for their own even at the expense of personal risks, since natural selection has shown that with from the point of view of survival, it is more promising to fight for the survival of the whole group with strangers than if everyone fights for their own survival.

Sapolsky has a good short video about friends and foes. The peculiarities of people's perception of their own and others, it seems even in the modern world of educated and literate people, give a fairly easy opportunity for manipulators and provocateurs to set people against each other and engage in mutual destruction. Moreover, even despite the fact that it is intuitively understandable and has long been proven within the framework of game theory that it is more profitable and more rational to be friends, cooperate and negotiate than to actively conflict. As a result of conflicts, the conflicting parties suffer losses, and it is usually cheaper for the parties to the conflict to reach an agreement. All the manipulators need is, it seems, to scare people as much as possible through some kind of real action or provocation, or even just through informational impact. And of course, do not forget to either centrally label strangers explicitly, or give simple and clear rules on how to recognize a stranger, for example, by skin color or language, or authorize some local activists to label those whom they themselves consider necessary.

Additional risks of irrational behavior also seem to come from the many cognitive biases that all humans are subject to. And these distortions often make it easier to manipulate people. It looks like a pretty good and typical example of individual irrational behavior is demonstrated by the prison experiment and its modifications ... "

Rallying society "in the face of the enemy" leads it to fascism

Analyst Vladimir Medvedev warns that too much control over public behavior is fraught with fascism:

“In the depths of the collective human psyche, there are many such destructive and self-destructive affects and behavioral patterns. That is why we need dominating control... But the main thing here is not to allow this control to turn into a game on such destructive impulses of the masses. In politics, by the way, this is called fascism... Historical experience shows that managing the masses according to the fascist model - through rallying before the image of the enemy ("we are together and we are not afraid") - is always self-destructive and ends in a social cataclysm. But the temptation of the ruling elites is too great here: the masses, introduced into a state of fascist self-torture, are so easy to control! And the icing on the cake: at the same time, it is so easy to write off all your managerial mistakes on the Enemy ... "

But analyst Sergey Viryasov believes that the larger the group, the less likely it is to self-destruct:

“Not exactly, or rather, not at all. Xenophobia is one of the "basic", "animal" instincts, which cannot be completely defeated in each individual person. But if a group is acting, then we are talking about a different level. The group, one way or another, comprehends its actions, finding something in common, and therefore - rational. The larger the group, the more rationality is required. So only a small group can lead to self-destruction, and then only in rare cases ... "