1º Seminário dos Grupos de Pesquisa do PPGFil-UFRRJ | Grupo de Pesquisa Evolução, moralidade e política | 27/04/22, 13:30

1º Seminário dos Grupos de Pesquisa do PPGFil-UFRRJ | 25 a 28 de abril de 2022

https://cursos.ufrrj.br/posgraduacao/ppgfil/1o-seminario-dos-grupos-de-pesquisa

O evento será exclusivamente online, através da plataforma Google Meet.

Prazo final para inscrição de ouvintes: 23 de abril de 2022, sábado, 23:59.

A inscrição para ouvintes é gratuita e deverá ser feita através de Formulário Google.

O link de acesso ao Google Meet será enviado, no dia 24 de abril de 2022, para o e-mail preenchido no formulário de inscrição.

O certificado de participação para os presentes também será enviado através do e-mail preenchido no formulário de inscrição.

Quarta-feira, 27 de abril de 2022

Grupo de Pesquisa Evolução, moralidade e política

13:30 – Walter Valdevino Oliveira Silva (PPGFil-UFRRJ): Teoria da Evolução como base para a moralidade e a política

14:00 – Iago Pereira da Silva (PPGFil-UFRRJ): O problema da base biológica para a ética normativa

14:30 – Maíra Bittencourt (Mestre em Filosofia – Unicamp): Bayesianismo e Filosofia da Ciência

15:00 – Miécimo Ribeiro Moreira Júnior (PPGLM-UFRJ): Teogonia Política

15:30 – Paulo Marcos da Silva (Biologia – Freie Universität Berlin): Evolução da genitália humana comparada com a de primatas

16:00 – Matheus Adriano Ferreira Coelho (Biologia-UFRJ): As quatro questões de Tinbergen: como a biologia pode nortear as ciências humanas

CLIQUE AQUI PARA SE INSCREVER NA SESSÃO DO DIA 27/04/22 DO GRUPO DE PESQUISA EVOLUÇÃO, MORALIDADE E POLÍTICA.

“Economic Development, the Nutrition Trap and Metabolic Disease”

Trabalho na interseção entre economia e biologia revela insigths sobre a saúde pública

https://news.yale.edu/2022/02/22/work-intersection-economics-and-biology-reveals-public-health-insight

***

Luke, Nancy; Munshi, Kaivan; Oommen, Anu Mary; and Singh, Swapnil, “Economic Development, the Nutrition Trap and Metabolic Disease” (2021). Discussion Papers. 1087.
https://elischolar.library.yale.edu/egcenter-discussion-paper-series/1087

https://elischolar.library.yale.edu/egcenter-discussion-paper-series/1087/

https://elischolar.library.yale.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2086&context=egcenter-discussion-paper-series

***

Durante décadas, os cientistas não conseguiram determinar por que exatamente há uma alta incidência de diabetes e outras doenças metabólicas entre indivíduos considerados de peso normal nos países em desenvolvimento. Um enigma relacionado é por que a desnutrição nem sempre diminui com o desenvolvimento econômico.

Um novo estudo liderado por Kaivan Munshi, de Yale, argumenta que há uma única explicação biológica para ambos.

Em um novo documento de trabalho, Munshi, professor de economia na Faculdade de Artes e Ciências de Yale e afiliada do Centro de Crescimento Econômico (EGC), e uma equipe de coautores descrevem como um aumento no consumo de alimentos pode colidir com uma metabolismo herdado do indivíduo, causando maior incidência de doenças por algumas gerações em uma linhagem familiar. Se os resultados suportarem mais testes, eles podem ter amplas ramificações para programas e políticas de nutrição destinados a conter o diabetes nos países em desenvolvimento.

O artigo foi lançado como parte da série de Documentos de Discussão do EGC.

Em pesquisas anteriores, Munshi explorou como os laços entre membros de grupos sociais – incluindo castas na Índia e grupos de migrantes nos Estados Unidos – funcionam na economia mais ampla. Em 2012, enquanto estava na Universidade de Cambridge, recebeu financiamento do National Institutes of Health para um estudo sobre o papel que os grupos comunitários podem desempenhar nos programas de controle da tuberculose no sul da Índia. Isso levou à sua pesquisa sobre doenças metabólicas – qualquer doença ou distúrbio que interrompa o metabolismo, o processo de conversão de alimentos em energia. Munshi continuou essa linha de pesquisa desde que ingressou no corpo docente de Yale em 2019.

O novo estudo remonta à história para entender as ligações entre as tendências atuais de desenvolvimento contemporâneo e a saúde pública.

Em estudos anteriores, os pesquisadores argumentaram que, na economia pré-moderna, a ingestão calórica das pessoas era geralmente baixa, embora houvesse grandes flutuações de curto prazo na quantidade de alimentos disponíveis. Ao longo de séculos, quando as sociedades humanas quase não viram crescimento econômico, o corpo humano se adaptou tanto a essa escassez de alimentos de longo prazo quanto a flutuações por meio de vários processos físicos, inclusive estabelecendo e defendendo um “ponto de ajuste” para a massa corporal.

A teoria do ponto de ajuste postula que o corpo tem um sistema estabilizador – ou “homeostático” – que usa ajustes metabólicos e hormonais para manter o equilíbrio energético do corpo contra flutuações na ingestão de alimentos. Esses ajustes metabólicos teriam compensado os períodos temporários de consumo maior ou menor, mantendo o corpo em um índice de massa corporal (IMC) estável – e necessariamente baixo -, que é aproximadamente o peso de um indivíduo dividido pela altura.

Os sistemas homeostáticos, entretanto, só podem se autorregular dentro de limites fixos; quando esses limites forem excedidos, o sistema falhará. Com o início do crescimento econômico na economia moderna, um aumento acentuado na disponibilidade de alimentos foi um choque para o sistema.”

“Outrage! Our minds and morals did not evolve to cope with social media” By Tim Dean

“Ultraje! Nossas mentes e moral não evoluíram para lidar com as mídias sociais

A indignação é uma emoção útil que ajudou nossos ancestrais a sobreviver. Hoje, isso nos deixa com raiva, cansados, impotentes e miseráveis.

https://bigthink.com/thinking/outrage/

18 DE MARÇO DE 2022

Tim Dean
Tim Dean é Filósofo Sênior no The Ethics Center e autor de How We Became Human.

A indignação é uma emoção evolutivamente útil porque pune os infratores e mantém as pessoas na linha. Hoje, expressamos grande parte de nossa indignação online, que não serve a nenhum propósito específico e raramente aborda a ofensa moral ou procura corrigi-la. Não somos escravos da nossa natureza. Podemos nos desvencilhar da indignação.

O que a evolução tem a ver com o problema da toxicidade das mídias sociais? A resposta curta é: mais do que você imagina. A resposta mais longa é: a toxicidade da mídia social é, em parte, um subproduto da maneira como nossas mentes evoluíram para pensar sobre o certo e o errado.

Assim como nossos corpos, nossas mentes foram moldadas por nossa longa história evolutiva como animais sociais, que passou a maior parte de seu passado evolutivo vivendo em sociedades de pequena escala. Essas sociedades tinham dinâmicas sociais radicalmente diferentes em comparação com as sociedades online massivas, diversificadas e globalizadas em que vivemos hoje. E muitos dos problemas sociais e morais que nossos ancestrais distantes tiveram que resolver também eram radicalmente diferentes dos que enfrentamos hoje.

Portanto, as ferramentas que a evolução deu aos nossos ancestrais para resolver seus problemas – incluindo heurística mental e emoções morais – podem ter funcionado bem em seu mundo, mas jogue essas mesmas ferramentas em nosso mundo e elas podem causar mais mal do que bem.

De muitas maneiras, partes-chave de nossa psicologia moral evoluída já passaram do prazo de validade. E é hora de recuarmos e trazermos nosso pensamento para o século 21.

A indignação como mecanismo de sobrevivência

Considere a indignação. Normalmente não pensamos na indignação como uma emoção “moral”, mas é isso que é. A indignação é um tipo especial de raiva que sentimos quando alguém faz algo errado. Isso nos enche de uma onda de energia que nos motiva a atacá-los e puni-los. É o que experimentamos quando alguém mente, rouba ou viola nossa dignidade.

(…)

O problema com a mídia social é que muitos dos ultrajes que testemunhamos estão muito distantes de nós, e temos pouco ou nenhum poder para evitá-los ou para reformar os malfeitores de alguma forma significativa. Mas isso não nos impede de tentar. Porque a indignação exige satisfação.

(…)

Quando você vê o Twitter em ação, você vê a indignação funcionando como a natureza pretendia. Exceto que não está funcionando no ambiente para o qual foi “projetado”. A indignação funcionou para nossos ancestrais que viviam em comunidades de pequena escala, onde eles conheciam o malfeitor pessoalmente e podiam se unir a aliados para trazê-los de volta à linha.

No mundo moderno, quando estamos separados por telas e só conseguimos nos comunicar em pequenos trechos de texto, a indignação pode falhar. Torna-se uma relíquia de um tempo diferente que está fora de sintonia com a maneira como experimentamos o mundo hoje.”

“Evolutionary Mismatch, Emotional Homeostasis, and Emotional Addiction: A Unifying Model of Psychological Dysfunction” by John Montgomery [Evolutionary Psychological Science, 2018]

“Evolutionary Mismatch, Emotional Homeostasis, and Emotional Addiction: A Unifying Model of Psychological Dysfunction

John Montgomery

Evolutionary Psychological Science, volume 4, pp. 428–442 (2018)

Artigo Teórico
Publicado: 02 de maio de 2018

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs40806-018-0153-9

Resumo

Este artigo propõe uma estrutura evolutiva unificadora para a compreensão da gênese de uma ampla gama de transtornos psicológicos. Os transtornos psicológicos como um todo parecem se desenvolver em frequências significativas apenas sob condições de “incompatibilidade evolutiva”, nas quais pessoas ou animais vivem em ambientes, como cidades modernas ou culturas industrializadas em geral, para os quais não são evolutivamente ou biologicamente adaptados. Ambientes evolutivamente incompatíveis parecem frequentemente causar interrupções nos estados de unidade que evoluíram para manter a homeostase. Com base em várias linhas de evidência, vou sugerir que estados emocionais dolorosos e angustiantes podem fornecer recompensas bioquímicas inconscientes no cérebro e, em condições ambientais incompatíveis, podem se tornar reforçados, criando “vícios emocionais” compulsivos e inconscientes. Esse fenômeno central pode ser a principal força motriz da grande maioria dos distúrbios psicológicos. Sugere-se que o impulso ou força desadaptativa que os vícios emocionais parecem gerar – mencionados aqui como “impulso não-homeostático” ou “impulso viciante” – de modo disfuncional, desnecessário e repetidamente tiraram as pessoas da homeostase, criando desequilíbrios sistêmicos que podem resultar em uma variedade de disfunções psicológicas.

Os drives homeostáticos e não-homeostáticos

Talvez o princípio mais fundamental na biologia moderna seja que todas as coisas vivas se esforçam para alcançar e manter estados de homeostase, ou equilíbrio, em todos os níveis (Craig 2003; Damasio 1999; Marder e Tang 2010). Na verdade, a capacidade de renovar os constituintes de uma célula viva ou coleção de células e de manter a homeostase fisiológica dentro dessas células para vários minerais, nutrientes, íons e outras biomoléculas é considerada uma capacidade fundamental para que a vida exista (Luisi 2006). Em organismos unicelulares, nutrientes e íons são mantidos em equilíbrio quase automaticamente por uma variedade de moléculas de transporte que estão incorporadas no envelope celular do organismo (Cook et al. 2014). Com a evolução de animais multicelulares mais complexos, no entanto, e particularmente com a evolução dos mamíferos, a expressão de estados emocionais específicos e as ações ou escolhas comportamentais que esses estados emocionais motivam tornaram-se um elemento central da manutenção da homeostase (Craig 2003; Panksepp e Biven 2012).

Quando os níveis de nutrientes na corrente sanguínea ou no corpo de um animal, por exemplo, caem abaixo de um limiar homeostático crítico, um desejo ou fome por comida, que pode ser visto como um verdadeiro estado emocional (Anderson e Adolphs 2014; Giuliani e Berkman 2015), é gerado no cérebro do animal (Fig. 1). Como a maioria dos estados emocionais, a fome é biologicamente projetada para motivar uma ação específica ou um conjunto de ações, que neste caso é a busca e consumo de alimentos adequados. O estado emocional de fome com efeito tira o animal da homeostase para a não-homeostase, mas esse estado não-homeostático é projetado especificamente para conduzir um comportamento – a busca e o consumo de comida – que trará o animal de volta à homeostase.

O estado emocional de repulsa, para dar outro exemplo, parece ter uma função homeostática semelhante. A repulsa parece ter evoluído como parte do “sistema psicológico imunológico”, que é biologicamente projetado para gerar evitação comportamental de patógenos potencialmente perigosos (Neuberg et al. 2011). Em humanos, o cheiro de carne podre, por exemplo, evocará uma sensação de repulsa que fará com que os olhos, narinas e boca se fechem parcialmente de forma automática e inconsciente para minimizar a exposição a parasitas potencialmente perigosos ou outros patógenos transportados pelo ar. A emoção de nojo também tende a motivar as pessoas a se afastarem com segurança da fonte de nojo, o que, mais uma vez, minimiza o risco de infecção. Todas as outras fontes comuns de uma reação de nojo físico, como a visão de feridas pustulentas, da mesma forma representam um risco de infecção por patógenos contra o qual a resposta emocional e fisiológica de nojo é projetada para fornecer proteção. Assim, a emoção de nojo novamente joga o sistema na não-homeostase com o objetivo de motivar o comportamento que é projetado para permitir um retorno à homeostase (Damásio, 1999).

Em humanos e outros animais superiores, um estado geral de homeostase parece ser expresso principalmente como um estado emocional de paz ou bem-estar, no qual não há ameaças iminentes percebidas (como uma ameaça de patógenos) e nenhuma necessidade urgente (como necessidade de comida). Estados emocionais homeostáticos, como sentimentos de paz ou bem-estar, normalmente parecem refletir estados subjacentes de homeostase fisiológica, enquanto estados emocionais não homeostáticos, como fome, nojo, ou medo, sinalizam ameaças potencialmente sérias à homeostase que devem ser abordadas de alguma forma. Assim, o aparente projeto biológico de todos os animais, incluindo humanos, é estar em homeostase sempre que possível, mas, quando a homeostase é ameaçada, desencadear estados emocionais não-homeostáticos apropriados projetados para motivar ações que tendem a permitir um retorno à homeostase (Fig. 2). Esta tendência de todo o organismo de manter estados de homeostase pode ser vista como um “impulso homeostático” global, representando uma força biológica fundamental e extremamente poderosa projetada para manter o organismo ou animal em homeostase sempre que possível (Montgomery e Ritchey 2008).”

The Economic Legacy of the Holocene By Lisi Krall [The Evolution Institute]

“O Legado Econômico do Holoceno

Por Lisi Krall 
30 de dezembro de 2021

http://evolution-institute.org/the-economic-legacy-of-the-holocene/

(…)

“Tenho muitas lembranças pungentes dessa época, mas uma é particularmente relevante aqui. Na semana antes de morrer, quando as linhas de tempo e espaço começaram a se desfazer como fazem de maneira confiável, Paul [Shepard] voltou-se para minha mãe uma noite e disse que ela não deveria ficar alarmada se quando ela acordasse ele não estivesse lá – ela o encontraria no quintal, ceifando. Na época, parecia-me um lugar estranho para ele ir, visto que ele havia dedicado a obra de sua vida a um avaliação crítica do impacto da agricultura nos humanos e na Terra, destacando tudo o que se perdeu quando os humanos começaram a domesticar plantas e animais. Achei que ele preferia retornar ao Pleistoceno, a era antes da agricultura, mas em vez disso ele adotou um ato do Holoceno, ceifa. Paul não tinha acabado de pensar na importância da agricultura. Desde então, internalizei sua inclinação no leito de morte, o impulso de entender o que aconteceu aos humanos e à Terra quando os humanos começaram o cultivo de grãos anuais e embarcaram na agricultura animal, trazendo comigo minha formação como economista.

(…)

A Revolução Agrícola é o antecedente direto do curso de colisão atual entre a economia global e a Terra, e o capitalismo é apenas uma representação institucional particular de uma mudança de sistema que esteve em movimento por 10.000 anos, muito antes da economia de mercado. No entanto, muitos críticos assumem que as crises de hoje são produto da Revolução Industrial, tecnologia avançada e capitalismo. A importância da Revolução Agrícola é obscurecida, nunca totalmente descartada, mas nunca totalmente reconhecida. Um exemplo é o trabalho de Jason W. Moore (2016), que argumenta que devemos falar de um “Capitaloceno” distinto. Moore está certo em expandir nossa visão do capitalismo para uma longue durée – não apenas nos últimos 250 anos, mas talvez começando no século 14, quando a “ecologia mundial” do capitalismo se consolidou – mas ele descarta a importância da Revolução Agrícola em sua análise. Certamente, a versão específica de dominação, exploração e expansão do capitalismo levou à extinção e à decadência ecológica, mas um contexto histórico mais amplo e uma perspectiva ecológica mais profunda são necessários para compreender o surgimento e a complexidade da ordem econômica do capitalismo.

(…)

As formigas da colônia são tão profundamente interdependentes que a autonomia individual é essencialmente inexistente e a cooperação é tão intensa que alguns membros da colônia são estéreis. Nenhuma formiga tem conhecimento da produção de fungos; que o conhecimento está embutido no coletivo e na maneira como ele funciona em torno do propósito comum. Seguindo o exemplo de Hölldobler & Wilson (2011), não parece exagero dizer que as formigas têm “civilização” e se referir à colônia como um “superorganismo” em virtude de sua inteligência e ordem. A colônia, como uma unidade de seleção natural, tem posição em termos evolutivos. Essas espécies são extremamente bem-sucedidas pelos padrões biológicos e evolutivos, pois a interação autocatalítica da produção de fungos e do crescimento populacional permite uma grande expansão no tamanho da colônia. Há também expansão por meio da migração para um novo local de nidificação e o estabelecimento de novas colônias.

(…)

Quando me dei conta dessas semelhanças na organização econômica e na dinâmica populacional em relação à agricultura, me senti compelida a identificar os processos e mecanismos que deram origem a configurações econômicas notavelmente semelhantes em espécies, de outra forma, muito diferentes. A Revolução Agrícola dos humanos não parecia ser apenas uma questão de engenhosidade, intencionalidade, razão, instituições e cultura, uma vez que os insetos agrícolas haviam alcançado o mesmo marco, a mesma configuração e o mesmo “sucesso” milhões de anos antes dos humanos.

(…)

Ao pesquisar espécies agrícolas, busquei a biologia evolutiva, algo que os cientistas sociais progressistas geralmente evitam. A compreensão da ruptura da estrutura e da dinâmica da vida econômica humana pela agricultura é iluminada pela teoria da evolução – particularmente uma estrutura evolucionária ampliada que abrange a complexidade da evolução no que se refere à formação de grupos, a evolução da cooperação e a construção de nichos (Margulis, 1970 ; Okasha, 2006; Wilson & Wilson, 2007; Pigliucci & Muller, 2010; Jablonka & Lamb, 2014; Laland et al., 2015). Essa teoria evolucionária estendida permite que as análises ultrapassem os limites estreitos dos genes e da seleção de parentesco. John Gowdy e eu argumentamos que o uso da biologia populacional e da teoria evolutiva para entender as sociedades pode ajudar a explicar a formação do coletivo econômico como uma força e unidade de seleção em evolução (Gowdy & Krall, 2013, 2014, 2016).

(…)

A dinâmica de expansão e produção excedente, a profunda interdependência material e a relação alienada com o mundo não-humano permanecem conosco na forma contemporânea de capitalismo global e suas tecnologias, ideologias e instituições concomitantes. Pior para nós e para a Terra. Dez mil anos com este sistema agrícola serviram apenas para realçar e cimentar certas tendências. Se quisermos parar o extermínio em massa do mundo não-humano e deixar possibilidades razoáveis para as futuras gerações de humanos, teremos que desmantelar este “superorganismo econômico”. Não é uma tarefa fácil, e a questão da eficácia da ação humana nessa frente obviamente é grande.””

“What if Everything You Learned About Human History Is Wrong?” [ On David Graeber & David Wengrow – The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity, 2021]

“E se tudo o que você aprendeu sobre a história humana estiver errado?

Em The Dawn of Everything, o antropólogo David Graeber e o arqueólogo David Wengrow pretendem reescrever a história de nosso passado compartilhado – e futuro.

Por Jennifer Schuessler

31 de outubro de 2021

https: // www.nytimes.com/2021/10/31/arts/dawn-of-everything-graeber-wengrow.html

Os best-sellers de Big History de Harari, Diamond e outros têm suas diferenças. Mas eles se baseiam, argumentam Graeber e Wengrow, em uma narrativa semelhante de progresso linear (ou, dependendo do seu ponto de vista, declínio).

De acordo com essa história, nos primeiros 300.000 anos ou mais após o aparecimento do Homo sapiens, praticamente nada aconteceu. Em todos os lugares, as pessoas viviam em pequenos grupos igualitários de caçadores-coletores, até a repentina invenção da agricultura por volta de 9.000 a.C. deu origem a sociedades e estados sedentários baseados na desigualdade, hierarquia e burocracia.

Mas tudo isso, Graeber e Wengrow argumentam, está errado. Recentes descobertas arqueológicas, eles escrevem, mostram que os primeiros humanos, longe de serem autômatos movendo-se cegamente em uma etapa de bloqueio evolucionária em resposta a pressões materiais, conscientemente experimentaram com “um desfile de carnaval de formas políticas”.

(…)

“Somos todos projetos de autocriação coletiva”, escrevem eles. “E se, em vez de contar a história de como nossa sociedade caiu de algum estado idílico de igualdade, perguntarmos como viemos ficar presos em grilhões conceituais tão rígidos que não podemos mais imaginar a possibilidade de nos reinventarmos?”

(…)

The Dawn of Everything inclui discussões sobre sepultamentos principescos na Europa durante a idade do gelo, contrastes de atitudes em relação à escravidão entre as sociedades indígenas do norte da Califórnia e do noroeste do Pacífico, as implicações políticas da terra seca versus a agricultura no leito dos rios e a complexidade da pré-agricultura de assentamentos no Japão, entre muitos, muitos outros assuntos.

Mas a gama impressionante de referências levanta uma questão: quem está qualificado para julgar se isso é verdade?

(…)

James C. Scott, um eminente cientista político de Yale, cujo livro de 2017 Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States também variou vários campos para desafiar a narrativa padrão, disse que alguns dos argumentos de Graeber e Wengrow, como os seus, iriam inevitavelmente, ser “jogados fora” quando outros estudiosos se envolverem com eles.

Mas ele disse que os dois homens deram um “golpe fatal” à ideia já enfraquecida de que se estabelecer em estados agrícolas era o que os humanos “estavam esperando para fazer o tempo todo”.

Mas a parte mais impressionante de The Dawn of Everything, disse Scott, é um capítulo inicial sobre o que os autores chamam de “crítica indígena”. O Iluminismo europeu, eles argumentam, em vez de ser um presente de sabedoria concedido ao resto do mundo, surgiu de um diálogo com os povos indígenas do Novo Mundo, cujas avaliações incisivas das deficiências da sociedade europeia influenciaram as ideias emergentes de liberdade.” [Google Tradutor]

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“What if Everything You Learned About Human History Is Wrong?

In “The Dawn of Everything,” the anthropologist David Graeber and the archaeologist David Wengrow aim to rewrite the story of our shared past — and future.

By Jennifer Schuessler

Oct. 31, 2021

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/31/arts/dawn-of-everything-graeber-wengrow.html

The Big History best-sellers by Harari, Diamond and others have their differences. But they rest, Graeber and Wengrow argue, on a similar narrative of linear progress (or, depending on your point of view, decline).

According to this story, for the first 300,000 years or so after Homo sapiens appeared, pretty much nothing happened. People everywhere lived in small, egalitarian hunter-gatherer groups, until the sudden invention of agriculture around 9,000 B.C. gave rise to sedentary societies and states based on inequality, hierarchy and bureaucracy.

But all of this, Graeber and Wengrow argue, is wrong. Recent archaeological discoveries, they write, show that early humans, far from being automatons blindly moving in evolutionary lock step in response to material pressures, self-consciously experimented with “a carnival parade of political forms.”

(…)

“We are all projects of collective self-creation,” they write. “What if, instead of telling the story about how our society fell from some idyllic state of equality, we ask how we came to be trapped in such tight conceptual shackles that we can no longer even imagine the possibility of reinventing ourselves?”

(…)

“The Dawn of Everything” includes discussions of princely burials in Europe during the ice age, contrasting attitudes toward slavery among the Indigenous societies of Northern California and the Pacific Northwest, the political implications of dry-land versus riverbed farming, and the complexity of preagricultural settlements in Japan, among many, many other subjects.

But the dazzling range of references raises a question: Who is qualified to judge whether it’s true?

(…)

James C. Scott, an eminent political scientist at Yale whose 2017 book “Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States” also ranged across fields to challenge the standard narrative, said some of Graeber and Wengrow’s arguments, like his own, would inevitably be “thrown out” as other scholars engaged with them.

But he said the two men had delivered a “fatal blow” to the already-weakened idea that settling down in agricultural states was what humans “had been waiting to do all along.”

But the most striking part of “The Dawn of Everything,” Scott said, is an early chapter on what the authors call the “Indigenous critique.” The European Enlightenment, they argue, rather than being a gift of wisdom bestowed on the rest of the world, grew out of a dialogue with Indigenous people of the New World, whose trenchant assessments of the shortcomings of European society influenced emerging ideas of freedom.”

“Extraverts and Conservatives are More Likely to Get COVID” By Glenn Geher [Darwin’s Subterranean World]

“Extraverts and Conservatives are More Likely to Get COVID

The pandemic is largely the result of our evolved social psychology.

Glenn Geher
Darwin’s Subterranean World

Posted May 15, 2021

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/darwins-subterranean-world/202105/extraverts-and-conservatives-are-more-likely-get-covid
 
***

Personality Correlates of COVID-19 Infection Proclivity: Extraversion Kills

Vania Rolona, Glenn Geherb, Jennifer Linkb, Alexander Mackielb

Personality and Individual Differences

Available online 14 May 2021

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2021.110994

***

“In light of the human behavioral element of COVID, my research team (a subset of The New Paltz Evolutionary Psychology Lab ) conducted a study to help us better understand the behavioral factors that underlie the spread of this virus—a virus that has turned all of our worlds upside down in so many ways.

Our study, recently published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences , explored various dispositional traits that might ultimately underlie whether people are prone toward getting the virus. The two main variables we focused on were extraversion and political conservatism.

(…)

An additional evolutionary perspective as to why and how extraversion might relate to COVID infection proclivity pertains the behavioral-system hijacking hypothesis (see Reiber et al., 2010). This idea, which is admittedly beyond the scope of our data, suggests that the coronavirus, which has known effects on the nervous system, may actually hijack behavior and temporarily make people relatively sociable so as to increase its spread across an increased number of human hosts.

(…)

Gollwitzer et al. (2020) found that people who live in relatively conservative areas (based on voting patterns) have been less likely to follow social-distancing guidelines relative to those living in areas where people are more likely to vote for liberal political candidates.

In light of this basic reasoning, we predicted that people who self-identify as conservative would be more likely to wind up becoming infected with the virus relative to those who self-identify as liberal.”

“Will science survive politics?” By Tom Chivers [UnHerd]

“Will science survive politics?

Whether something is politically convenient or not doesn’t affect whether it’s true

By Tom Chivers

May 11, 2021

https://unherd.com/2021/05/will-science-survive-politics/

(…)

No one really cares about creationists any more. Instead, the row is over whether Darwin – and his theory, or its implications – is racist, or sexist. And the people passionately defending him are often right-wingers, while his critics are on the Left.

The latest incarnation is a by-the-numbers fighting-the-culture-war piece in the Telegraph about a guide to “Applying a decolonial framework to teaching and research in ecology and evolution” published by some plant scientists in the University of Sheffield. In the guide, science lecturers are told to contextualise Darwin by making it clear how his worldview was shaped by colonialism and racism.

(…)

I also rather wish that the Sheffield academics had mentioned whether or not they think Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true or not. There’s an awful lot of talk about power imbalances, Eurocentric viewpoints, and the legacy of colonialism, and how science “cannot be objective and apolitical” – but regardless of whether or not Darwin was racist, was he right? Maybe that’s taken for granted.

(…)

The sad, forgotten creationists aside, most of us gladly accept that dragonflies’ wings and wombats’ toenails or whatever have evolved; that those ancestors which had versions of those organs more suited to their environment tended to have more offspring.

But when Darwin’s idea gets applied to behaviour, it becomes more controversial. The field of science that tries to do this is called sociobiology; it was controversial enough when it arose in the Seventies, pioneered by EO Wilson. It caused a furore – protesters poured water over Wilson’s head during a conference talk, chanting “Racist Wilson, you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide.” Wilson’s work was mainly about ants.

When Darwinian ideas are applied to the human brain, and human behaviour, it is called evolutionary psychology, and that is more controversial still.

Which, on the face of it, is strange. Evolutionary psychology is, at its heart, the idea that the brain (and therefore the mind, and human behaviour and psychology in general) is the product of evolution, just like every other animal organ. As Richard Dawkins wrote in the 2005 foreword to The Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology, that is so obviously true as to be almost not worth saying: “The central claim [of evolutionary psychology] is not an extraordinary one,” he wrote. “It amounts to the exceedingly modest claim that minds are on the same footing as bodies where Darwinian natural selection is concerned. Given that feet, livers, ears, wings, shells, eyes, crests, ligaments, antennae, hearts and feathers are shaped by natural selection … why on earth should the same not be true of brains[?]”

(…)

The idea that the mind is evolved goes back to Darwin himself, but it was Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, a wife-and-husband team of academics, who really developed the field in The Adapted Mind, a book of essays they edited in 1992.

(…)

Charles Darwin, the historical figure, is interesting to study, and it’s worth remembering that he was a man of his time. But Darwinism, the great insight of evolution by natural selection, is separate. It is true (or false) regardless of Darwin’s own views, and so are the many insights which have followed it. We can go back and forth over whether he was a racist, but the more interesting question is: was he right?”

“When Men Behave Badly” by Rob Henderson | A Review of When Men Behave Badly by David M. Buss

“When Men Behave Badly—A Review

written by Rob Henderson

Published on April 30, 2021

A review of When Men Behave Badly: The Hidden Roots of Sexual Deception, Harassment, and Assault by David M. Buss, Little, Brown Spark, 336 pages (April 2021)

https://quillette.com/2021/04/30/when-men-behave-badly-a-review/

(…)

These differences in reproductive biology have given rise to differences in sexual psychology that are comparable to sex differences in height, weight, and upper-body muscle mass. However, Buss is careful to note, such differences always carry the qualifier “on average.” Some women are taller than some men—but on average men are taller. Likewise, some women prefer to have more sex partners than some men—but on average men prefer more. These evolved differences are a key source of conflict.

One goal of the book is to highlight situations in which sexual conflict is diminished or amplified to prevent victimization and reduce harm.

(…)

Because of the increased risk women carry, they tend to be choosier about their partners. In contrast, men are less discerning. Studies of online dating, for example, find that most men find most women to be at least somewhat attractive. In contrast, women, on average, view 80 percent of men as below average in attractiveness. Another study found that on the dating app Tinder, men “liked” more than 60 percent of the female profiles they viewed, while women “liked” only 4.5 percent of male profiles.

(…)

Deception is often prevalent in the mating market. And deception involves an understanding of what the opposite sex desires. For instance, on dating websites, men exaggerate their income by roughly 20 percent on average and round up their height by about two inches. Similarly, women on dating websites round their weight down by about 15 pounds.

(…)

… as Buss stresses throughout the book, “adaptive” does not mean “morally good.” Often, cultures create moral norms to suppress certain behaviors that might be beneficial for the individual but bad for the community (e.g., stealing).

(…)

Throughout the book, Buss is careful to note that just because a behavior is adaptive or “natural” does not mean it is morally good or desirable. Diseases are “natural,” yet modern science has developed vaccines and medical procedures to eliminate these ailments. Likewise, people can implement personal, social, and legal instruments to curtail the darker facets of male psychology.

(…)

What kind of men? As mentioned above, Dark Triad traits predict sexual aggression. Perhaps more surprisingly, research indicates that high-status men are particularly likely to commit sexual assault. Buss writes, “men with money, status, popularity, and power are more likely to be sexual predators.” These results parallel the disconcerting finding that men who use sexual coercion have more partners than men who do not. A popular idea is that men who are desperate or deprived of chances for sex will be more likely to use coercion. This is known as the “mate deprivation hypothesis.” However, studies suggest the opposite is the case. Men who have more partners report higher levels of sexual aggression compared to men with fewer partners. Furthermore, men who predict that their future earnings will be high also report greater levels of sexual aggression relative to men who predict that their future earnings will be low.”

“Evolutionary Mismatch, Partisan Politics, and Climate Change: A Tragedy in Three Acts” By Helen Camakaris [This View of Life]

“Evolutionary Mismatch, Partisan Politics, and Climate Change: A Tragedy in Three Acts

By Helen Camakaris
Helen gained her Ph.D. in 1975 and worked as a Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Melbourne, Australia. She studied the regulation of gene expression in bacteria and archaebacteria, which aligned with her interest in evolution. She retired in 2008 to pursue her interest in the nexus between evolutionary psychology, sustainability, and climate change, and has been studying and publishing articles in this area for the past ten years. Her articles have appeared in Meanjin Quarterly, The Conversation, Cosmos Magazine, New Internationalist, and Kosmos Magazine, and can be found online under Notes on her Facebook Page.
Twitter: @helenmcama
Facebook Page: ‘The Climate Conundrum, with Helen Camakaris’ at https://www.facebook.com/h.camakaris/

This View of Life

https://thisviewoflife.com/evolutionary-mismatch-partisan-politics-and-climate-change-a-tragedy-in-three-acts/

(…)

During the Pleistocene, our brains were upgraded by changes that enabled our ancestors to leave more descendants, largely as a result of expansion in the cerebral neo-cortex. Evolution is glacially slow and our rise is recent, so our psychology suffers from evolutionary ‘mismatch,’5 whereby the shadows of the past still influence our behavior.6

(…)

Like biological evolution, cultural evolution builds upon whatever has preceded it and is also subject to a form of ‘natural selection,’8 whereby some ‘memes’ or ideas persist and spread.9 Cultural evolution and natural selection acted together as a ratchet, culminating in vastly increased intelligence and creativity.5

Altruism too, was a product of natural selection involving language and social intelligence, its selection enhanced by multilevel selection, with competition at the level of groups or tribes.10 Altruism, however, is generally circumscribed by an obsession with ‘fairness’ and discrimination between ‘them’ and ‘us’, presenting problems when we must plan for the distant future, or cooperate beyond the local tribe.

So although we may now be extraordinarily intelligent, we are not always rational, simply as a result of our evolutionary journey.11 Our decision-making often involves emotional reasoning, using ‘gut instinct’, which we then justify by rational thought.12 Our cognition is also subject to a myriad of biases affecting our judgment.13 For example, we tend to discount the future, follow our in-group, and collect evidence to justify our pre-existing opinions. We are further limited by our poor comprehension of large numbers and exponential growth, as became obvious during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Perhaps counter-intuitively, even intelligence has been a double-edged sword, promoting the transition from hunter-gatherer to improviser, and the ‘progress’ that followed. Technological advances like agriculture around 10,000 years ago made surpluses possible; people began to live in towns and cities, to specialize, trade with other groups, and have larger families. Whilst this satisfied the evolutionary imperative of increasing population, it heralded poorer diets, more disease, and greater social stratification.”

“Can the brain resist the group opinion?” [Medical Xpress]

“Can the brain resist the group opinion?

by National Research University Higher School of Economics

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-02-brain-resist-group-opinion.html

Scientists at HSE University have learned that disagreeing with the opinion of other people leaves a ‘trace’ in brain activity, which allows the brain to later adjust its opinion in favor of the majority-held point of view. The article was published in Scientific Reports.

We often change our beliefs under the influence of others. This social behavior is called conformity and explains various components of our behavior, from voting at elections to fashion trends among teenagers.

Brain research has recently been well informed about short-term effects of social influence on decision making. If our choice coincides with the point of view of the people who are important to us, this decision is reinforced in the brain’s pleasure centers involved in the larger dopaminergic system responsible for learning, motor activity and many other functions. Conversely, in instances of disagreement with others, the brain signals that a ‘mistake’ has been made and triggers conformity.

(…)

Thus, the opinions of others not only influence our behavior, but also cause long-term changes in the way our brains work. Apparently, the brain not only quickly adjusts to the opinions of others, but also begins to perceive information through the eyes of the majority in order to avoid social conflicts in the future.

“Our study shows the dramatic influence of others’s opinion on how we perceive information,” says HSE University Professor Vasily Klucharev, one of the authors of the study. “We live in social groups and automatically adjust our opinions to that of the majority, and the opinion of our peers can change the way our brain processes information for a relatively long time.”

“It was very interesting to use modern methods of neuro-mapping and to see traces of past conflicts with the opinion of the group in the brain’s activity,” adds Aleksei Gorin, a Ph.D. student at HSE University. “The brain absorbs the opinion of others like a sponge and adjusts its functions to the opinion of its social group.”

***

MEG signatures of long-term effects of agreement and disagreement with the majority

A. Gorin, V. Klucharev, A. Ossadtchi, I. Zubarev, V. Moiseeva & A. Shestakova

Scientific Reports volume 11, Article number: 3297 (2021)

Published: 08 February 2021

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-82670-x

Abstract

People often change their beliefs by succumbing to an opinion of others. Such changes are often referred to as effects of social influence. While some previous studies have focused on the reinforcement learning mechanisms of social influence or on its internalization, others have reported evidence of changes in sensory processing evoked by social influence of peer groups. In this study, we used magnetoencephalographic (MEG) source imaging to further investigate the long-term effects of agreement and disagreement with the peer group. The study was composed of two sessions. During the first session, participants rated the trustworthiness of faces and subsequently learned group rating of each face. In the first session, a neural marker of an immediate mismatch between individual and group opinions was found in the posterior cingulate cortex, an area involved in conflict-monitoring and reinforcement learning. To identify the neural correlates of the long-lasting effect of the group opinion, we analysed MEG activity while participants rated faces during the second session. We found MEG traces of past disagreement or agreement with the peers at the parietal cortices 230 ms after the face onset. The neural activity of the superior parietal lobule, intraparietal sulcus, and precuneus was significantly stronger when the participant’s rating had previously differed from the ratings of the peers. The early MEG correlates of disagreement with the majority were followed by activity in the orbitofrontal cortex 320 ms after the face onset. Altogether, the results reveal the temporal dynamics of the neural mechanism of long-term effects of disagreement with the peer group: early signatures of modified face processing were followed by later markers of long-term social influence on the valuation process at the ventromedial prefrontal cortex.”

“Learning from Evolution about Free Speech” By David Sloan Wilson [This View Of Life]

“Learning from Evolution about Free Speech

By David Sloan Wilson

January 11, 2021

https://thisviewoflife.com/learning-from-evolution-about-free-speech/

(…)

The world is in turmoil over the incendiary language of a US president, the invasion of the US Capitol Building incited by his speech, and the silencing of the president by giant tech firms. Commentators fall back on the US Constitution, especially the First Amendment, to make sense of it all—as if the wisdom of the founders could somehow anticipate the Internet Age. To truly make sense of it all, we need to go back—way back—to the genetic evolution of our species at the scale of small groups.  

Humans are masters of social regulation at the scale of small groups. Alexis d’Toqueville, the acute observer of American democracy in the 1830’s, got it right when he wrote that “the village or township is the only association which is so perfectly natural that wherever a number of men are collected it seems to constitute itself.”

Toqueville’s use of the word “natural” was more apropos than he could have known, writing decades before Darwin’s theory of evolution. Today we know that our ability to cooperate in small groups is a product of genetic evolution. Even though we share 99% of our genes with chimpanzees, there is a night-and-day difference in our cooperativeness. According to Harvard anthropologist Richard Wrangham in his book The Goodness Paradox (1), naked aggression is over 100 times more frequent in a chimpanzee community than a small-scale human community. Even cooperation in chimpanzees typically takes the form of small alliances competing against other alliances within a given community. The main form of community-wide cooperation is aggression toward other communities.

(…)

Likewise, small-scale human societies are not just communitarian but also stubbornly individualistic. Since the great danger is to be pushed around, all members assert their right as a moral equal so that decision-making becomes a collective enterprise. These seemingly contradictory strands, compulsory and voluntary, collective and individualistic, are woven together to form a strong braid.

(…)

So much for the big evolutionary picture that was beyond Tocqueville’s imagination. How does it bear upon the urgent questions of our day, such as the incendiary speech of a US president and the decision of major tech companies to deny him a forum? Let’s shrink these problems down to see what they look like at the scale of a small group. As we have seen, there is a necessity for everyone to have a say in matters of collective importance. This is the necessity that is recognized by the First Amendment of the US Constitution. There is also the necessity to suppress bullying and other behaviors that can disrupt the common good. It all depends on the context. In small and well-regulated human groups, it is relatively easy to recognize the context and apply the appropriate rules.

Not only was this true for small groups in the distant past and the small-scale societies of today, but examples abound in modern WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrial, Rich, and Democratic) societies (6). Consider the norms of scholarship and science, where adhering to the facts of the matter is a cardinal virtue. The formation and testing of alternative hypotheses is a form of unrestricted free speech, failure to cite or misrepresenting relevant material is rigorously policed, and willfully falsifying data results in immediate exclusion. These norms are as strong as those of the strongest religions. Similar examples could be cited for other modern contexts where truth-telling is important, such as responsible journalism and judicial procedures. When witnesses at a trial swear to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth…” they legally bind themselves to that commitment.

(…)

The second major factor is that evolutionary theory, which was beyond the imagination of Tocqueville, is still a new perspective in discussions of social theory, economics and law. The title of my book This View of Life: Completing the Darwinian Revolution, signifies that the conceptual unification that has taken place in the biological sciences (and of course continues), is only now taking place in the human-related sciences. In my long career, I have observed that the “evolutionizing” of human-related disciplines such as psychology, anthropology, religion, economics, business, and law takes place at different rates based on idiosyncratic factors.

Economics and business are late bloomers and law even more so. One of the few legal scholars who thinks about free speech and the Internet from an evolutionary perspective is Julie Seaman, Associate Professor at Emory University’s School of Law. An open-access article that we coauthored titled #FreeSpeech makes a start at evolutionizing the concept of free speech, in general, and in the Internet Age. This conversation needs to expand and be put into action rapidly, to keep pace with the rate of cultural evolution in the Internet Age. Otherwise, only social dysfunction can result.”

***

#FreeSpeech

Arizona State Law Journal, Vol. 48, No. 4, 2017

Emory Legal Studies Research Paper No. 17-439

30 Pages

Posted: 14 Apr 2017

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2951909

Julie Seaman
Emory University School of Law

David Wilson
Binghamton University

Date Written: April 12, 2017

Abstract

It has become commonplace to note that courts have struggled with the challenge of applying analog legal concepts to digital spaces, and nowhere is this truer than in the context of the First Amendment. Here, we focus on a very specific aspect of the Internet and social media revolution – the impact on human behavior of this distinct medium of communication – to consider whether the online context of a communication can be expected to affect the behavior either of the speaker or the audience in ways that might be relevant to First Amendment theory and doctrine.

With the emergence of the field of cyberpsychology over the past decade, the complex universe of the online social brain has begun to reveal itself. While much of this space is thus far only roughly mapped and much else is yet to be discovered, there are a number of preliminary findings that have implications for thinking about freedom of speech on the Internet. The nature and effects of disinhibition online, the effect of online social communication on memory and belief about facts and events in the physical world, and the drivers of antisocial behaviors such as flaming, shaming, and trolling – to name just a few – are all fertile ground for analysis and further research as they relate to First Amendment theory, doctrine, and values.

This initial foray into the treacherous terrain at the crossroads of the First Amendment, social media, and human behavior also draws on the evolutionary science of group dynamics and cooperation, which has much to say about how individuals behave within groups, how groups behave with respect to other groups, and the features that can make some groups successful, constructive, egalitarian, and prosocial while others are destructive, hierarchical, violent, and antisocial. It explores the implications of these ideas as they relate to groups that operate in cyberspace.

Keywords: First Amendment, Cyberspeech, Cyberpsychology, Internet Speech”

Joseph Henrich and Michael Muthukrishna – “The Origins and Psychology of Human Cooperation”. Annual Review of Psychology, 2021

“The Origins and Psychology of Human Cooperation

Annual Review of Psychology

Vol. 72:207-240 (Volume publication date January 2021)

First published as a Review in Advance on October 2, 2020

https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-psych-081920-042106

Joseph Henrich (1) and Michael Muthukrishna (2)

(1) Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA; email: henrich@fas.harvard.edu

(2) Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science, London School of Economics and Political Science, London WC2A 2AE, United Kingdom; email: m.muthukrishna@lse.ac.uk

PDF:

https://henrich.fas.harvard.edu/files/henrich/files/henrich_and_muthukrishna_the_origins_and_psychology_of_human_cooperation_final.pdf

Abstract

Humans are an ultrasocial species. This sociality, however, cannot be fully explained by the canonical approaches found in evolutionary biology, psychology, or economics. Understanding our unique social psychology requires accounting not only for the breadth and intensity of human cooperation but also for the variation found across societies, over history, and among behavioral domains. Here, we introduce an expanded evolutionary approach that considers how genetic and cultural evolution, and their interaction, may have shaped both the reliably developing features of our minds and the well-documented differences in cultural psychologies around the globe. We review the major evolutionary mechanisms that have been proposed to explain human cooperation, including kinship, reciprocity, reputation, signaling, and punishment; we discuss key culture–gene coevolutionary hypotheses, such as those surrounding self-domestication and norm psychology; and we consider the role of religions and marriage systems. Empirically, we synthesize experimental and observational evidence from studies of children and adults from diverse societies with research among nonhuman primates.

Keywords
cooperation, ultrasociality, evolutionary psychology, cultural evolution, culture-gene coevolution, social behavior”

“This is your brain on political arguments” By Derek Beres [Big Think]

“This is your brain on political arguments

Debating is cognitively taxing but also important for the health of a democracy—provided it’s face-to-face.

DEREK BERES

18 January, 2021

https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/your-brain-on-arguing

– New research at Yale identifies the brain regions that are affected when you’re in disagreeable conversations.

– Talking with someone you agree with harmonizes brain regions and is less energetically taxing.

– The research involves face-to-face dialogues, not conversations on social media.

You probably know the feeling: a rush of heat that assaults your entire body; your fingertips and forehead suffering fiery consequences of conflict; restrictions around your chest and throat; quickened breath, as if your lungs can no longer draw in the required oxygen; ears on alert, biding time for a break in your opponent’s rhetoric to let loose the torrent of thoughts crowding your brain.

Of course, not everyone is an opponent. You likely know the opposite as well: the cool excitement of agreeableness, when the words in your head are returned to you from another being as in a mirror; unconscious head shaking as your sense of righteousness is validated; the warm exuberance of easy dialogue with a fellow tribe member.

In a digital age in which physical contact seems foreign and long past, we might have forgotten what it’s like to agree—or debate—with someone in person. Pandemics are temporary, while societies are—well, nothing is forever, but we’ve outlived diseases before. According to new research from Yale University, published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, disagreeing with someone takes up a lot of brain real estate, while finding a compatriot is a much less cognitively taxing endeavor.

(…)

Senior author Joy Hirsch notes that our brain is essentially a social processing network. The evolutionary success of humans is thanks to our ability to coordinate. Dissonance is exhausting. Overall, she says, “it just takes a lot more brain real estate to disagree than to agree,” comparing arguments to a symphony orchestra playing different music.

As the team notes, language, visual, and social systems are all dynamically intertwined inside of our brain. For most of history, yelling at one another in comment sections was impossible. Arguments had to occur the old-fashioned way: while staring at the source of your discontent.

(…)

Leading us to an interesting question: do the same brain regions fire when you’re screaming with your fingers on your Facebook feed? Given the lack of visual feedback from the person on the other side of the argument, likely not—as it is unlikely that many people would argue in the same manner when face-to-face with a person on the other side of a debate. We are generally more civil in real life than on a screen.”

***

“Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

13 January 2021

https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2020.606397

Interpersonal Agreement and Disagreement During Face-to-Face Dialogue: An fNIRS Investigation

Joy Hirsch 1,2,3,4,5*, Mark Tiede 1,4, Xian Zhang 1, J. Adam Noah 1, Alexandre Salama-Manteau 1 and Maurice Biriotti 6

1 Brain Function Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, United States
2 Department of Neuroscience, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, United States
3 Department of Comparative Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, United States
4 Haskins Laboratories, New Haven, CT, United States
5 Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, University College London, London, United Kingdom
6 Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University College London, London, United Kingdom

Although the neural systems that underlie spoken language are well-known, how they adapt to evolving social cues during natural conversations remains an unanswered question. In this work we investigate the neural correlates of face-to-face conversations between two individuals using functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and acoustical analyses of concurrent audio recordings. Nineteen pairs of healthy adults engaged in live discussions on two controversial topics where their opinions were either in agreement or disagreement. Participants were matched according to their a priori opinions on these topics as assessed by questionnaire. Acoustic measures of the recorded speech including the fundamental frequency range, median fundamental frequency, syllable rate, and acoustic energy were elevated during disagreement relative to agreement. Consistent with both the a priori opinion ratings and the acoustic findings, neural activity associated with long-range functional networks, rather than the canonical language areas, was also differentiated by the two conditions. Specifically, the frontoparietal system including bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, left supramarginal gyrus, angular gyrus, and superior temporal gyrus showed increased activity while talking during disagreement. In contrast, talking during agreement was characterized by increased activity in a social and attention network including right supramarginal gyrus, bilateral frontal eye-fields, and left frontopolar regions. Further, these social and visual attention networks were more synchronous across brains during agreement than disagreement. Rather than localized modulation of the canonical language system, these findings are most consistent with a model of distributed and adaptive language-related processes including cross-brain neural coupling that serves dynamic verbal exchanges.”

“Como a ‘mente ocidental’ foi moldada pela Igreja Católica medieval” – Joseph Henrich [BBC Future]

“Como a ‘mente ocidental’ foi moldada pela Igreja Católica medieval

Joseph Henrich*

* Joseph Henrich é professor de Biologia Evolutiva Humana na Universidade de Harvard e autor de The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous (“As pessoas mais ‘Weird’ do Mundo: Como o Ocidente se Tornou Psicologicamente Pecial e Particularmente Próspera”, em tradução livre).

BBC Future

https://www.bbc.com/portuguese/vert-fut-55566154

(…)

Em primeiro lugar, apesar de entrar nos livros didáticos como as “pessoas” pensam, quase todos os estudos que examinaram esse efeito foram conduzidos entre estudantes americanos. No entanto, os comentaristas sociais, voltando pelo menos a Alexis De Tocqueville, notaram que os americanos são particularmente individualistas e independentes.

(…)

Isso destaca o fato de que chamar alguém de “conformista” é um elogio em muitos lugares, mas não nos Estados Unidos.

Conformidade, entretanto, não é um caso idiossincrático de diferença cultural, mas representa a ponta de um iceberg psicológico.

O banco de dados que domina nossa compreensão da psicologia humana deriva principalmente — 95% dela, na verdade — de populações que são “Ocidentais, Educadas, Industrializadas, Ricas e Democráticas (esse grupo de pessoas é conhecido pela sigla em inglês “Weird”, que significa “esquisito” em português).

Ao contrário de grande parte do mundo hoje — e da maioria das pessoas que já viveram —, essa categoria de pessoas é altamente individualista, obcecada por si mesma, cheia de culpa e analítica em seu estilo de pensamento.

Os chamados “Weird” se concentram em si mesmos — seus atributos, realizações e aspirações. Ao raciocinar, as pessoas tendem a procurar categorias abstratas com as quais organizar o mundo, simplificam fenômenos complexos quebrando-os em elementos discretos e atribuindo propriedades — seja imaginando tipos de partículas, patógenos ou personalidades.

Apesar de sua aparente auto-obsessão, elas tendem a seguir regras imparciais e podem ser bastante confiáveis, justas e cooperativas com estranhos.

Emocionalmente, as pessoas da categoria “Weird” são relativamente desavergonhadas, menos constrangidas quando se deparam com outros, mas frequentemente atormentadas pela culpa por não cumprirem seus próprios padrões autoimpostos.

(…)

Até recentemente, a maioria das sociedades foi sustentada por instituições baseadas intensivamente em parentescos, construídas em torno de grandes famílias estendidas: clãs, casamento de primos, poligamia e muitas outras normas de parentesco que regulam e restringem a vida social. Essas instituições persistem em muitas partes do mundo hoje, especialmente nas áreas rurais.

(…)

Começando no final da Antiguidade, o ramo do cristianismo que evoluiu para a Igreja Católica Romana começou a promulgar gradualmente um conjunto de proibições e prescrições relacionadas ao casamento e à família. A Igreja, por exemplo, proibiu o casamento entre primos, casamento arranjado e casamento polígamo.

Ao contrário de outras denominações cristãs, a Igreja Católica expandiu lentamente o círculo de relacionamentos “incestuosos” para primos no século 11.

Apesar de frequentemente enfrentar forte resistência, esse empreendimento dissolveu lentamente as complexas instituições baseadas em parentesco da Europa tribal, deixando famílias nucleares independentes como um ideal cultural e um padrão comum.

(…)

A maioria de nós pode achar que somos pensadores racionais e independentes. Mas a forma como pensamos, sentimos e raciocinamos — incluindo nossas inclinações para a conformidade e preferências por explicações analíticas — foi moldada por eventos históricos, heranças culturais e tabus de incesto que remontam a séculos ou mesmo milênios.

Compreender como a história moldou nossas mentes faz parte de explorar e abraçar nossa diversidade.”

“Rick Shenkman – Political Animals: How Our Stone-Age Brain Gets in the Way of Smart Politics” [ The Dissenter]

“#417 Rick Shenkman – Political Animals: How Our Stone-Age Brain Gets in the Way of Smart Politics

14 de jan. de 2021

The Dissenter

RECORDED ON NOVEMBER 9th 2020.

Rick Shenkman is the founder of George Washington University’s History News Network, the website that features leading historians’ perspectives on current events. He is a New York Times best-selling author of seven history books. His latest book is Political Animals: How Our Stone-Age Brain Gets in the Way of Smart Politics. Mr. Shenkman is an Emmy award-winning investigative reporter and the former managing editor of KIRO-TV, the CBS affiliate in Seattle. In 1997 he was the host, writer and producer of a prime-time series for The Learning Channel inspired by his books on myths. In 2008 he was elected a Fellow of the Society of American Historians. He gives lectures at colleges around the country on several topics, including American myths and presidential politics.

In this episode, we talk about Political Animals. We go through topics like evolutionary mismatch; how good we really are at reading politicians, and if it is easy for them to lie to us; self-deception in politics; the role the media play in politics; the problem with presenting information in the form of stories; empathizing with strangers in modern large-scale societies; relying on gut feelings; and solutions to current political problems.

Time Links:
00:48 Political evolutionary mismatch
07:32 Can people know politicians well enough?
20:40 Is it easy for politicians to sell us lies?
25:26 Self-deception
30:12 The media, and presenting information in the form of stories
38:44 Can we empathize with people that are not part of our group?
44:07 Should we rely on our gut feelings?
53:11 Solutions to these problems
1:04:27 Follow Rick’s work!”

“Why a Universal Society Is Unattainable” By Mark W. Moffett [Nautilus]

“Why a Universal Society Is Unattainable

Our minds evolved in an Us-vs-Them universe of our own making.

JANUARY 13, 2021

BY MARK W. MOFFETT

Mark W. Moffett, Ph.D., is the author of The Human Swarm: How Our Societies Arise, Thrive, & Fall, from which this essay is adapted. He has a Lowell Thomas medal from the Explorers Club for his work in over 100 countries on the questions about the structure of rainforests, social organization in ants, and the stability of societies across different species.

https://nautil.us/issue/95/escape/why-a-universal-society-is-unattainable

(…)

In the 2016 vote, the majority of British people stubbornly chose for their country to be on its own and not part of a more encompassing group of societies. The vote appeared to run against the broader trend of European nations loosening their boundaries in acknowledgement of an identity that outweighs, or erases, the importance of the societies themselves. With the number of societies in general declining century after century,1 we might take seriously the assertion that the internationalization of culture (think Star Wars, tequila, Mercedes-Benz) and connections (with Twitter linking people from Aa, Estonia, to Zu, Afghanistan) are a harbinger of a Berlin Wall-type border collapse, making, as the British sociologist Morris Ginsberg once put it, “The unification of mankind … one of the clearest trends in human history.”2

Whatever the ultimate relationship of Great Britain and Europe may be, the current breakup underscores how deeply national identity runs through human psychology. Both psychological literature and anthropological research on societies ranging from the ethnolinguistic groups of hunter-gatherers to tribes, chiefdoms, and states (less formally, “nations”),3 reveal that a universal society is unattainable. Populations across the globe today may devour Starbucks, KFC, and Coca-Cola. They may enjoy Italian opera, French couture, and Persian carpets. But no matter how many exotic influences each absorbs or what foreign connections they make, nations don’t just fade away. They retain their citizens’ fierce devotion.4 Societies have always traded, gifted, or taken what they want from the outer world to claim as their own, and grown all the stronger for doing so. While the erasure of borders may be laudable, nothing we know about the workings of the human mind suggests it is a realistic vision.

(…)

A failure of alliances to supersede people’s affiliation to their society holds true universally. Intergovernmental organizations like the European Union and the United Nations don’t earn our primary emotional commitment because they lack ingredients that make them real for the members. The EU may be the most ambitious attempt at societal integration conceived, yet few members see the EU as an entity worthy of their loyalty the way they do their countries, and for several reasons.

(…)

To top all that off, the EU offers no grand foundation story, no venerable symbols or traditions, and there’s little sense anyone would fight and die for Europe as they might for their nation.7

(…)

Analysis of the 2016 Brexit vote shows that those who most strongly think of themselves as English went against staying with the EU. Voters saw what was intended foremost to be an economic and peacekeeping tool as a threat to their identity.9 The fact is the consequences of Brexit will be mostly commercial, setting into action a myriad of obstacles to trade.10

(…)

One possible means of attaining that unity might be to shift people’s perception of who’s an outsider. It was a point Ronald Reagan liked to make. “I occasionally think how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world,” he remarked in an address to the UN. Indeed, science-fiction tales like The War of the Worlds depict humankind acting as one against a common enemy.

Yet even then our societies would endure the space aliens. The arrival of Martians wouldn’t make nations irrelevant any more than Europeans arriving in Australia caused the Aborigines to drop what had been several hundred clear-cut tribal groups (actually, many Aborigines first guessed that the Europeans were otherworldly, i.e., ghosts16). That would be so regardless of how much the aliens shattered the beliefs people held about their own societies, whose beloved differences would look trivial by comparison to those with the Little Green Men. Cosmopolitanism, the conviction that the diverse people of our planet will come to feel a primary connection to the human race (the term means “citizen of the cosmos”),17 is a pipe dream.

(…)

The human reliance on particular traits, or “markers,” to identify with our societies, ethnicities, and other groups may trace back far into the human past, but what comes naturally isn’t always desirable. Fortunately, our intelligence gives us some prospect of breaking free from our biology and history. When changes concern the matter of how we mark off our identities, though, any alteration would be extremely arduous and require more than education. While casting off ethnic and societal markers may sound good at first blush, the move would undoubtedly mean the loss of much of what humans cherish. Our markers are two-edged swords, causing us to discount those who differ from us, yet at the same time imparting an esprit de corps with complete strangers who fit our expectations, as when we take delight in conversing with a fellow American when traveling overseas.

To abandon our differences would strike against timeless yearnings. People care about their memberships and few would want to give them up. Nor could we simply dispose of them. Research in psychology shows that our responses to the most entrenched of our social groups, and the characteristics that define them, take place faster than the blink of an eye, and are involuntary.18 No doubt if a mass hypnotist caused us to forget our current differences, we would scramble to discover or invent new differences to hold dear.

(…)

The mind evolved in an Us-vs-Them universe of our own making. The societies coming out of this psychological firmament have always been points of reference that give people a secure sense of meaning and validation.

(…)

Social marginalization has been a motivator stronger than religious fanaticism, explaining why many terrorists originally took to extremism only after being excluded from the cultural mainstream. For the socially dispossessed, radical views fill a void.21 Organized crime groups likewise commandeer some of the properties that give a society its vitality by providing social pariahs with common goals and a sense of pride and belonging.

(…)

Being in a society (indeed, in multiple societies) is a more indispensable and ancient quality of our species than faith or matrimony, having been the way of things from before we were human.”

“Origins of Human Cooperation” | Speaker: Professor Michael Tomasello [LSE]

“London School of Economics and Political Science

Origins of Human Cooperation

Public Lectures and Events

Origins of Human Cooperation

19 Nov 2020 | 1 Hour 4 Minutes

https://www.lse.ac.uk/lse-player?id=791f4140-9098-4b8e-8381-845f36cac1a9

Speaker: Professor Michael Tomasello

Published on: 19 Nov 2020

Humans are biologically adapted for cultural life in ways that other primates are not. Humans have unique motivations and cognitive skills for sharing emotions, experience and actions, whereas our nearest primate relatives do not.

Michael Tomasello, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University, is one of the world’s leading researchers on social learning, communication and language in human children and great apes.

Sandra Jovchelovitch is a social and clinical psychologist by training and her research focuses on human development under contextual adversity, the social psychology of public spheres, community development and the socio-cultural context of knowledge. Sandra is a Professor of Social Psychology in the Department of Psychologyical and Behavioural Science.”

Agustín Fuentes — Why We Believe: Evolution and the Human Way of Being [Science salon/Skeptic]

SCIENCE SALON # 144

Agustín Fuentes — Why We Believe: Evolution and the Human Way of Being

Agustín Fuentes — Why We Believe: Evolution and the Human Way of Being

Why are so many humans religious? Why do we daydream, imagine, and hope? Philosophers, theologians, social scientists, and historians have offered explanations for centuries, but their accounts often ignore or even avoid human evolution. Evolutionary scientists answer with proposals for why ritual, religion, and faith make sense as adaptations to past challenges or as by-products of our hyper-complex cognitive capacities. But what if the focus on religion is too narrow? Renowned anthropologist Agustín Fuentes argues that the capacity to be religious is actually a small part of a larger and deeper human capacity to believe. Why believe in religion, economies, love? Fuentes employs evolutionary, neurobiological, and anthropological evidence to argue that belief — the ability to commit passionately and wholeheartedly to an idea — is central to the human way of being in the world.

The premise of the book is that believing is our ability to draw on our range of cognitive and social resources, our histories and experiences, and combine them with our imagination. It is the power to think beyond what is here and now in order to see and feel and know something — an idea, a vision, a necessity, a possibility, a truth — that is not immediately present to the senses, and then to invest, wholly and authentically, in that “something” so that it becomes one’s reality. The point is that beliefs and belief systems permeate human neurobiologies, bodies, and ecologies, and structure and shape our daily lives, our societies, and the world around us. We are human, therefore we believe, and this book tells us how we came to be that way.

Shermer and Fuentes also discuss:

– what it means to “believe” something (belief in evolution or the Big Bang is different from belief in progressive taxes or affirmative action),
– evolution and how beliefs are formed…and why,
– evolution of awe, wonder, aesthetic sense, beauty, art, music, dance, etc. (adaptation or exaptation/spandrel?),
– evolution of spirituality, religion, belief in immortality,
– Were Neanderthals human in the “belief” sense?
– human niche and the evolution of symbolism/language,
– evolution of theory of mind,
– how to infer symbolic meaning from archaeological artifacts,
– components of belief: augmented cognition and neurobiology, intentionality, imagination, innovation, compassion and intensive reliance on others, meaning-making,
– dog domestication and human self-domestication,
– Göbekli Tepe and the underestimation of ancient peoples’ cognitive capacities,
– the development of property, accumulation of goods, inequality, and social hierarchy,
gender role specialization,
– monogamy and polyamory, gender and sex, and continuum vs. binary thinking,
– violence and warfare,
– political and economic systems of belief, and
– love as belief.

Agustín Fuentes is a Professor of Anthropology at Princeton University. He is an active public scientist, a well-known blogger, lecturer, tweeter, and an explorer for National Geographic. Fuentes received the Inaugural Communication & Outreach Award from the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, the President’s Award from the American Anthropological Association, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Video: the science of morality – Dr. Liane Young [John Templeton Foundation]

“Video: the science of morality

Video: The Science of Morality

Right and wrong, good and evil — when viewing the world, our moral judgments often feel clear-cut and consistent. Research shows, however, that we’re willing to be more forgiving and flexible with those who are socially close to us, while applying sterner judgments to those who are far away. Why do we make these exceptions? And how can we broaden our sense of morality to be more fair to people outside of our tribes? Learn more about the science of morality in this interview with Dr. Liane Young, professor of psychology at Boston College. Young is the project co-leader with Fiery Cushman of the John Templeton Foundation-supported project on “Reasoning in moral thought and action,” which examines when, how, and why reason plays a role in morality, alongside other emotional and situational influences on our moral judgments.

This is the third video in our series of interviews produced by the independent media company Freethink. Watch the first episode here, which features Dr. Uri Maoz discussing the neuroscience of free will and its implications for human freedom. Then watch the second episode and explore the latest research in the science of forgiveness with Dr. Amrisha Vaish, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Virginia and leader of a project studying the development of forgiveness supported by the John Templeton Foundation.”