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Where Prejudice and Stereotypes Reside in the Brain

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posted on Nov, 7 2014 @ 09:02 AM
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I must admit, I got a little behind in my reading so this article may seem dated, but here goes.
Most people have experienced some prejudices from time to time. I have done some study as to where such originates since everyone declares "they are not 'bigots'".

Take a little time to read up on this at :

jonlieffmd.com...

I hope it will help us learn we are not immuned to the feelings we all share and why. The author goes into some detailed analysis about the resources involved and reasons for much of our behavior.




Complex brain circuits are correlated with prejudice and stereotyping. Prejudicial behavior is based on multiple inputs—a rapid amygdala fear response, higher-level slower emotional responses, and conceptual cognitive responses. All of these are trained, mostly by unconscious social suggestions, except for truly dangerous situations where the fight and flight responses are life saving.





Fear conditioning and unconscious conceptual bias are insidious and can only be counteracted by applying conscious self observation, learning, behavior modification and active conscious control. Training needs to involve both ongoing conceptual analyses, as well as fear extinction through behavioral approaches. Behavioral techniques to deal with the “other” in new ways, through self-observation and control, are essential. Then new concepts can be learned internally.


Many will declare we are reacting as subject to our own "free will" but time itself debunks this position.




A previous post discussed how neuroscience does not disproves free will. The problem with free will is that it has to be activated and used; for that, conscious choice is necessary.


I have found I can lessen my own prejudicial responses by asking myself a simple question. How much more or less human am I than others I meet? This was not always an easy question to determine in all cases, but I think it is essential in all my dealings with others.

On the face it seems quite simple but think about how you "really interact" with others based upon this question.
edit on Tue Nov 11 2014 by DontTreadOnMe because: attempt to fix link




posted on Nov, 7 2014 @ 09:21 AM
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a reply to: teamcommander

S&F for bringing this to attention...


But imo a bigot is a bigot, by choice.

It's a learned behaviour imo, not a predestined, brain abnormality.



posted on Nov, 7 2014 @ 09:28 AM
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originally posted by: CharlieSpeirs
a reply to: teamcommander

S&F for bringing this to attention...


But imo a bigot is a bigot, by choice.

It's a learned behaviour imo, not a predestined, brain abnormality.




If I get punched in the face every day by a different clown, I will start not liking them too much. It is a survival instinct. If after that you would still argue that clowns are mostly lovely creatures then I'd say you are lying or that nature went somehow wrong with YOU.

So you are actually right, it IS learned behaviour, you learn what is a danger to you and react appropriately.



posted on Nov, 7 2014 @ 09:34 AM
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a reply to: Hecate666

Actually a bigot is something different to what you described.

That's stereotyping which isn't quite the same as bigotry!


They can be similar, but usually not!



For instance in your metaphor you'd have a right to be pissed, and suspect of clowns, it'd be stereotyping but it wouldn't be born out of intolerance.

If for instance you hated all Christians because of a Priests unGodly behaviour, that'd be more bigoted!



posted on Nov, 7 2014 @ 09:42 AM
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When a group of black males walk past your car and you hit the door lock, is that racist?

I know believing that blacks are born inferior is racist. That is easy to understand.

But reacting to social and cultural perceptions is a different animal. Can that really be considered racism?
edit on 7-11-2014 by Hoosierdaddy71 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 7 2014 @ 09:51 AM
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a reply to: Hoosierdaddy71

Depends if you'd lock the doors if it was a group of Whites, or Orientals, or Asians, or Native Americans doesn't it!

If not it proves my point that bigotry is a learned behaviour.

Whether through upbringing or media brainwashing!



posted on Nov, 7 2014 @ 10:17 AM
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a reply to: CharlieSpeirs


Has there been a sudden rash of American Indians on the rampage lately? I will not lock my doors unless I feel there is a threat. A group of frat boys with names like Todd and Evan don't look threatening. A group of six men with their pants around their ankles and hoodies covering their faces look more threatening. The color of their skin does not matter. Those same six men in suits and ties does not appear threatening either.

Yes of course bigotry is learned. Bigotry is a reaction to the social landscape. When a black kid is told whitey is holding him down his whole life, he believes it. Does not matter if it is true.



posted on Nov, 7 2014 @ 10:31 AM
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If all of our thoughts are ultimately filtered through the subconscious, then the conscious mind can only ever make suggestions; the real arbiter, the real decision maker will always be the subconscious genetic hardwired programming. The conscious can never be and will never be the true captain of the ship, although we love to think otherwise, don't we? It warms my heart to see that more and more evidence suggests our social behavior is all unconscious, genetic, instinctual behavior. Meditation may actually one day, as neuroscience evolves, to turn out to be a very crude, even clumsily ineffective, way of influencing the subconscious. I imagine that won't be received very well either.
edit on 7-11-2014 by Calalini because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 7 2014 @ 10:41 AM
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It would appear this posting has actually found a few adults in the room.

I am quite refreshed by the replies I have seen.

I had almost given up on ATS because of the "childish" responses which I have read to many of the postings.

Thank you all.



posted on Nov, 7 2014 @ 10:44 AM
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a reply to: Calalini


Your sub conscious tells you that you are gay. Like the color blue. Don't like the taste of strawberries. Don't ever want to see a living spider again. But I have a hard time believing that's the cause of hatred for another race. That one I believe is a choice.



posted on Nov, 7 2014 @ 11:56 AM
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originally posted by: Hoosierdaddy71
a reply to: Calalini

Your sub conscious tells you that you are gay. Like the color blue. Don't like the taste of strawberries. Don't ever want to see a living spider again. But I have a hard time believing that's the cause of hatred for another race. That one I believe is a choice.


I would not term it your subconscious as much as your "conditioned" subconscious.
We are not born with a fear of a hot stove but it does not take a child long to learn to stay away from one.
We are not born to reject and be suspicios of other people but we learn this from our, as well as others, experiences.
It is this conditioning which is reinforced by the activity within our brains and leads us to become prejudice against others we do not recognise as being within our group.

Think of it as the worst kind of nurture mixed in with our basic nature.
edit on 7-11-2014 by teamcommander because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 7 2014 @ 12:51 PM
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a reply to: Hoosierdaddy71

If I saw a group of drunken frat boys walking down the street, I'd probably duck lower in my seat and lock the doors. Just saying that what generates fear is subjective and can be frequently experiential in nature. What is true for one may not be true for another. I've had bad experiences with drunken frat boys; ergo, I'm going to be more distrustful of them than a group of kids that need belts.

Do I think that every drunken frat boy is dangerous? No, absolutely not. Most of them are probably decent human beings. However, experience is a tremendous teacher and so I'm going to eye them a little more suspiciously. If I can acknowledge that not all of them are bad like the few that I had very negative encounters with but I'll still be more likely to lock my doors, does that necessarily make me a bigot? Or just somebody with PTSD?



posted on Nov, 7 2014 @ 02:03 PM
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a reply to: WhiteAlice


That is exactly my point. We learn most fear from experience. Skin color has nothing to do with your fear. It's is as you say, negative encounters.



posted on Nov, 7 2014 @ 03:24 PM
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originally posted by: Hoosierdaddy71
a reply to: WhiteAlice


That is exactly my point. We learn most fear from experience. Skin color has nothing to do with your fear. It's is as you say, negative encounters.



Then we're agreed on that count. I think though, there is a distinction for painting all members of that same grouping under the same brush in terms of what is bigotry. If I felt that all frat boys were dangerous, then I would be a bigot. That was the other point of what I was saying.




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