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Selfishness Is Learned - Issue 37: Currents - Nautilus

Creating quantitative models

Creating quantitative models

Most of the psychological theories are verbal, but words can be imprecise. If "cooperation is intuitive", it needs to state when. And what does "intuitive" mean?

In order to solve this, computer simulations of society were developed.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Selfishness Is Learned - Issue 37: Currents - Nautilus

Selfishness Is Learned - Issue 37: Currents - Nautilus

http://nautil.us/issue/37/currents/selfishness-is-learned

nautil.us

7

Key Ideas

Understanding morality

Psychologists do not understand human moral behavior, because it seldom makes any logical sense.

Using moral philosophy and psychology, biology, economics, mathematics, and computer science, scientists are trying to study how morality operates in the real world.

Our default mode

Through a series of experiments, it was discovered that despite the temptation to be selfish, most people show selflessness.

This is particularly true when subjects were forced to make their decision under time pressure; people are prone to cooperation when they rely more on intuition.

The Sims computer simulation

These models represent collections of individual people described by computer algorithms that capture a specific set of traits, such as a tendency to cooperate or not.

  • You can give them new personalities to see how they would behave.
  • You can observe social processes in action.
  • You can observe time scales, from seconds to generations.
  • You can watch the spread of certain behaviors throughout a population and you can see how certain behaviors influence other behaviors.

The patterns that emerge can tell you things about large-scale social interaction that lab experiments and real people never could.

The human instinct to cooperate

There seems to be evolutionary logic to the human ability to cooperate but adjust if necessary. To trust, but verify. 

We generally collaborate with other people because it benefits us. Our rational minds let us work out when we might occasionally gain by acting selfishly instead.

Getting people to cooperate more

Our intuitions are not fixed at birth. We develop social rules of thumb for interpersonal behavior based on the interactions we have. 

Change those interactions, and you change behavior.

Encouraging cooperation

In many situations, people are rewarded for backstabbing and ladder climbing.

In order to encourage cooperation where cooperation isn't the norm, companies might offer bonuses and recognition for cooperative behavior. Encouraging people to make decisions quickly can also bring out their better behavior.

EXPLORE MORE AROUND THESE TOPICS:

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

We’re Hardwired To Gossip

Our prehistoric ancestors lived in small intimate groups. To survive they needed to cooperate with in-group members while also competing for mates and limited resources.

It was fundame...

Social Isolation

Sharing secrets is one way people bond, so avoiding gossip may lead to social isolation. Someone skillful at gossip can be socially informed and have a good rapport with others. On the other hand, someone who doesn’t gossip may become an outsider, neither trusted nor accepted by the group. 

Gossip also helps to integrate newcomers into groups by exposing group norms and values.

Fear Of Whispers Keeps Us In Check

The awareness that others are likely talking about us can keep us in line. Among a group of friends or coworkers, the threat of becoming the target of gossip can deter “free-riders” and cheaters.

one more idea

Jumping into Conclusions
Jumping to conclusions is a common phenomenon, where people prematurely decide and finalize something, without having sufficient information or choosing not to consider it.
Jumping into Conclusions: Examples
  • Inference-observation confusion: An assumption made that may or may not be correct. Example: Concluding that a guy is rich, based on the car he drives.
  • Fortune-Telling: Assumption of knowing exactly what will happen in the future.
  • Mind Reading: Assuming based on how to have read someone's mind and concluded something which may not be true.
  • Extreme Extrapolation: Finding a minor clue and making something major out of it.
  • Overgeneralization: Copy-pasting a piece of knowledge over something that you think is related, but is not.
  • Labeling: Stereotyping a set of people based on their likes and dislikes.
Why We Jump to Conclusions

The reason people jump to conclusions is the fact that they find it easy.

Fact-checking and 100 percent accuracy on everything they see or observe consume way too much time for a normal person.

Taking mental shortcuts is the path most people choose to jump to conclusions.

5 more ideas

Uncertainty

Many people are uncertain about their behaviour and what action they should be taking at any given moment.

This uncertainty manifests in fear, stress, and anxiety.

Some Zen Ideas on...

The Big Picture

While dealing with the daily problems and decisions, we need to ask ourselves what do our lives require right now, and what matters the most to us. This reminds us to participate and take action in meaningful work, with a purpose, a mission and a direction. It stops us from acting on impulse or wasting our time during trivial things that don't have any impact.

Turn By Turn

You can only take one action at a time, due to time, energy and other constraints. Make sure the action you take is based on the big picture and has the most significant impact.

Don't waste your Turn.

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