• If you are having problems logging in please use the Contact Us in the lower right hand corner of the forum page for assistance.

psychology today - 4 psychological processes

Help Support Ranchers.net:

beethoven

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 11, 2009
Messages
746
Reaction score
0
Location
alberta
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cutting-edge-leadership/201112/4-psychological-processes-are-ruining-america

4 Psychological Processes That Are Ruining America
What's (psychologically) wrong with America?
Published on December 1, 2011 by Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D. in Cutting-Edge Leadership

Polls in the last two years tell us that people believe that the United States is in an economic and social decline. While most fingers are pointed at the economy, there are some psychological processes at work that have contributed to this sense of decline. These processes, some of which represent the "dark side" of human nature, have made a bad situation even worse.

What will pull us out of this seeming downward spiral? A better understanding of these negative psychological processes, and developing ways to combat them.

1. The We-They Feeling. This well-researched psychological construct is at the heart of prejudice and discrimination. It is the tendency to see in-group members ("We") in a positive light and perceive out-group members ("They") negatively. While the we-they feeling creates unity and cohesiveness among in-group members, it leads to vilifying, and sometimes mistreating, out-group members.

We see this in the polarization of American politics. "We (Republicans or Democrats) are the good guys, they are bad. (There's a guy who stands outside my local post office with a poster of Obama with a Hitler mustache; I saw the same mustache on George W. Bush's photo a few years back). The polarized news media and mudslinging politics feeds this negative psychology. The result: A country divided. A stalemated Congress that is unable and unwilling to work together. Bad feelings and hatred on all sides.


Solution: Psychology tells us that to combat the we-they feeling we need to focus on shared goals— "superordinate" goals that both sides value. We need to realize our commonalities, and focus primarily on similarities and shared purpose rather than differences.

2. Blaming the Victim. This is a truly insidious psychological process that is fostered by the American value of self-reliance and a "pull-yourself-up-by-your bootstraps" mentality. Attribution theory tells us that people like to find the cause of bad events, and we have a cognitive bias toward blaming people for their own misfortune.

What is the result? We tend to place blame on the victim. "Why was she raped? She dressed provocatively." "Why was he mugged? He should have been more careful."

Take the mortgage crisis. "They should have known better than to take out such big and risky loans." Never mind the predatory and complex lending practices, persuasive marketing, and the real estate bubble that would eventually burst.

Put Blaming the Victim together with the We-They Feeling, and you get Scapegoating. "Who is to blame for all of our economic and social woes? Immigrants, the shiftless poor who refuse to pull themselves up, and so on.

Solution: We look for simple causes, when causes are actually a complex interaction of people's actions and situational factors. Rather than the knee-jerk response of blaming the victim, we need to be aware of and consider the complexity. Poverty, for example, is not just a motivational issue, but an interplay of lack of opportunity, scarce resources such as jobs and education, and misfortune (e.g., the death of a family breadwinner), in addition to individual factors. Social policies need to consider such complexities.

3. Diffusion of Responsibility. Social psychological research has shown that the greater the number of people available to provide assistance the less likely people are to help because we think that someone else will do it (Remember the Black Friday story of the man in a store who had a heart attack and was ignored and stepped over by throngs of enthusiastic holiday shoppers? Was it callousness or a diffusion of responsibility?).

This same diffusion of responsibility extends to behaviors such as charitable giving, preservation of the environment, and voting ("what difference will one person make?").

Solution: We need to take personal responsibility for our communities, our country and our world. Don't expect others to do the work, clean up the mess, change the world. We all need to be engaged and responsible citizens.

4. Egocentric Biases. America is a complex and often contradictory culture. While we are one of the nations that are most likely to help our fellow man, we are also prone to "turn a blind eye" to the suffering of others. While we value initiative and hard work, we also believe that we "have something coming to us" and that we deserve good things. We strive to be the best, but we also believe that "all men [and women?] are created equal."

Our individualistic nature leads us to have many egocentric biases—to exaggerate our self-importance. And this is a problem.

We are a culture intoxicated by fame and by wealth. I heard Lady Gaga tell her Madison Square Garden audience, "you can all be famous; you can all be up here on this stage." Well, guess what? We all can't. AND, we won't all win the lottery and become instant millionaires, and the sooner we realize that the better.

The Declaration of Independence speaks of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," not fame or wealth (and I doubt that either would make many people happy). We need to be aware of the negative psychological processes that are holding us back as individuals and a society, and overcome them. It's the path to get the nation and our lives back on track.
 

Lonecowboy

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 10, 2006
Messages
1,990
Reaction score
0
Location
eastern Montana
#1: there is good and there is evil and there are followers of both-
so there will always be we/they divided along those lines.
what WE need to be careful of is that WE are not divided- United WE stand- Divided WE fall!

#2: this is part of taking personal responsibility and being realistic- life is hard, it's even harder when you are stupid-- learn from your mistakes and move on!

#3
:"We need to take personal responsibility for our communities, our country and our world. Don't expect others to do the work, clean up the mess, change the world. We all need to be engaged and responsible citizens."
spot on horray!!

#4: we need to make sure we are following good -read GOD- see #1 above
 

okfarmer

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Messages
1,059
Reaction score
0
Location
Oklahoma
4 Psychological Processes That Are Ruining America
What's (psychologically) wrong with America?
Published on December 1, 2011 by Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D. in Cutting-Edge Leadership So you can obtain a Ph.D in Cutting-Edge Leadership? Does this automatically qualify you as a leader?

Polls in the last two years tell us that people believe that the United States is in an economic and social decline. While most fingers are pointed at the economy, there are some psychological processes at work that have contributed to this sense of decline. These processes, some of which represent the "dark side" of human nature, have made a bad situation even worse.

So as we have become more progressive, the polls are showing we have regressed? I would believe that. As we push God out of our schools, out of our government and out of our daily lives- you will see this “dark side” of human nature increase in our culture.

What will pull us out of this seeming downward spiral? A better understanding of these negative psychological processes, and developing ways to combat them.

1. The We-They Feeling. This well-researched psychological construct is at the heart of prejudice and discrimination. It is the tendency to see in-group members ("We") in a positive light and perceive out-group members ("They") negatively. While the we-they feeling creates unity and cohesiveness among in-group members, it leads to vilifying, and sometimes mistreating, out-group members.

We see this in the polarization of American politics. "We (Republicans or Democrats) are the good guys, they are bad. (There's a guy who stands outside my local post office with a poster of Obama with a Hitler mustache; I saw the same mustache on George W. Bush's photo a few years back). The polarized news media and mudslinging politics feeds this negative psychology. The result: A country divided. A stalemated Congress that is unable and unwilling to work together. Bad feelings and hatred on all sides.


Solution: Psychology tells us that to combat the we-they feeling we need to focus on shared goals— "superordinate" goals that both sides value. We need to realize our commonalities, and focus primarily on similarities and shared purpose rather than differences.

Sounds like a fuzzy warm theory, but the theory will not result in reality. The difference is that both sides have to have a common goal. This was mostly true when the country was founded and the division was on how to get there- more state rights vs federal rights. Now the division is on being productive citizens that contribute (free to be responsible for your own way) vs being takers of the system (a ward of the state- not responsible for oneself) – what can the country do for me? Holding hands isn’t going to get anything accomplished here.

2. Blaming the Victim. This is a truly insidious psychological process that is fostered by the American value of self-reliance and a "pull-yourself-up-by-your bootstraps" mentality. Attribution theory tells us that people like to find the cause of bad events, and we have a cognitive bias toward blaming people for their own misfortune.

Disasters occur. But there is also something called being responsible for your own actions and decisions. Because I choose to gamble money away, or drink myself into being fired- I am not a victim. I should be held responsible.

Compassion was created to benefit those in distress. Discretion was created to understand what assistance is beneficial and what assistance is actually detrimental. Calling an alcoholic a victim and supplying him or her with excessive finances will not solve his/her alcoholism. Them taking responsibility is the first step and most important.

The pull yourself up by your bootstraps is a mentality directed at establishing determination, purpose, grit and a I know I can succeed attitude. I know of no successful person that has built any organization without help. Having the right attitude and dream is necessary first and foremost.


What is the result? We tend to place blame on the victim. "Why was she raped? She dressed provocatively." "Why was he mugged? He should have been more careful."

Pretty sure most people with brains hold the individual commiting the crime responsible. Being prudent by not walking down a dark alley on the bad side of town while flashing a rolex watch - is just prudent.

You can be 100% within your rights to tell someone off for cutting you off in traffic, and you can end up 100% dead. Does that mean you were any less within your rights? No. There are laws and there is something called common sense. When you are a fool and disregard common sense, it does not change the law or your rights. And it also does not change the fact that you are a fool. Notice, a fool does not equal wrong doing.


Take the mortgage crisis. "They should have known better than to take out such big and risky loans." Never mind the predatory and complex lending practices, persuasive marketing, and the real estate bubble that would eventually burst.

So someone being raped is the same as someone signing for a loan? That is some unusual reasoning. Did someone hold a gun to their head or use force to make them sign? No- they are not victims. They made promises that they could not keep. Only in the instances that people were purposefully misinformed of terms, is there wrong doing on that aspect.

The major victim is the American People- they did not stand to gain anything if all went well, but have been burdened with the cost when the loans have collapsed. They should not be on the hook for a banker making a bad loan. The banker should not have been forced to make these loans by Congress and lawyers suing them for not offering loans to people with inadequate financial soundness- Congress is ultimately responsible. Because I want a house, does not mean I can afford one. Because someone is willing to loan me the money, does not mean I am a victim.



Put Blaming the Victim together with the We-They Feeling, and you get Scapegoating. "Who is to blame for all of our economic and social woes? Immigrants, the shiftless poor who refuse to pull themselves up, and so on.

Uh no- don’t recall anyone blaming the poor for economic or social issues. Blaming people not willing to work- yes. That is something totally different. Immigrants that are paying taxes- no. Illegal aliens that aren’t paying taxes but are reaping benefits- yes.

Solution: We look for simple causes, when causes are actually a complex interaction of people's actions and situational factors. Rather than the knee-jerk response of blaming the victim, we need to be aware of and consider the complexity. Poverty, for example, is not just a motivational issue, but an interplay of lack of opportunity, scarce resources such as jobs and education, and misfortune (e.g., the death of a family breadwinner), in addition to individual factors. Social policies need to consider such complexities.

Sure poverty can be due to several reasons. Being poor is not being a victim. It is being poor. Some people are born with physical handicaps, some mental handicaps. This is not being a victim either. We all have our strengths and all have our weaknesses. There is way more to life than accumulation of wealth. If accumulation of wealth is the ultimate moral good, then all means of accumulation should be morally okay. If you believe this, then you ultimately can’t believe in rules and laws. If you believe that accumulation of wealth is not the ultimate moral good, then being poor is not morally bad. It is not our purpose to give people equal wealth, but equal opportunity which is the ultimate freedom. With freedom comes responsibility. If I am free to make my own decisions, then I am responsible for the outcomes of those decisions. There is no victim in this.


3. Diffusion of Responsibility. Social psychological research has shown that the greater the number of people available to provide assistance the less likely people are to help because we think that someone else will do it (Remember the Black Friday story of the man in a store who had a heart attack and was ignored and stepped over by throngs of enthusiastic holiday shoppers? Was it callousness or a diffusion of responsibility?).

This I believe in. I also believe that when the government takes over social responsibility, it lessens the responsibility felt by citizens. “I pay taxes for welfare, why should I help out the needy when I’ve already paid?” This robs citizens of providing assistance and experiencing the good that comes from it. It also robs the receiver of assistance from feeling a sense of gratitude from the one giving, and obligation to use the assistance wisely.

This same diffusion of responsibility extends to behaviors such as charitable giving, preservation of the environment, and voting ("what difference will one person make?").

Solution: We need to take personal responsibility for our communities, our country and our world. Don't expect others to do the work, clean up the mess, change the world. We all need to be engaged and responsible citizens.

4. Egocentric Biases. America is a complex and often contradictory culture. While we are one of the nations that are most likely to help our fellow man, we are also prone to "turn a blind eye" to the suffering of others. While we value initiative and hard work, we also believe that we "have something coming to us" and that we deserve good things. We strive to be the best, but we also believe that "all men [and women?] are created equal."

There really is no contradiction in a single “culture”, there are two polar philosophies competing. Many citizens are hard working and believe in the system of free enterprise. Others believe that they were born and therefore deserve to be taken care of. Again, being created equal means that we are all deserving of the opportunity to succeed or fail. Not that we all should have equal shares of the nation or guarantee in succeeding.

Our individualistic nature leads us to have many egocentric biases—to exaggerate our self-importance. And this is a problem.

We are a culture intoxicated by fame and by wealth. I heard Lady Gaga tell her Madison Square Garden audience, "you can all be famous; you can all be up here on this stage." Well, guess what? We all can't. AND, we won't all win the lottery and become instant millionaires, and the sooner we realize that the better.

The Declaration of Independence speaks of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," not fame or wealth (and I doubt that either would make many people happy). We need to be aware of the negative psychological processes that are holding us back as individuals and a society, and overcome them. It's the path to get the nation and our lives back on track.

Its called being a citizen. Giving more than taking due to an understanding that freedom is not free.
 

Latest posts

Top