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Social biases and their implications

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posted on Jun, 23 2015 @ 11:00 AM
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The halo effect is the tendency for, according to Wikipedia, "a person's positive or negative traits to 'spill over' from one personality area to another in others' perceptions of them." A supervisor giving his employee a performance report might give good ratings because of the person's good attendance and social skills despite the fact that the employee does poor work.

It has been found that people in relationships that are "doing well" have more positive/temporary explanations for when their SO screws up, and negative/permanent explanations for their SO in relationships that are going south. That is to say, people in rocky relationships are more likely to say that their SO is lazy rather than that s/he just forgot to take out the garbage (like a person in a "good" relationship would).

This bias plays a role in every promotion, mate selection, friend selection, career and everything else that people do. No one ever lists out every positive and negative aspect of whatever they're judging, in part because they don't have enough time and also because they don't have access to all of the information. Certain aspects of the "stimulus" are more salient than others, and it is these that they base the judgment on. Whether the judgments of those salient stimuli are accurate is another question altogether...

I have to go to bed or I'd keep working on it, but I'll write more later on.




posted on Jun, 24 2015 @ 07:31 AM
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a reply to: zackli

I wasn't going to comment until you continued... but since you haven't yet, I'll go ahead and throw this in now since I'm here:

I understand that we all judge people/situations according to our own standards, based on our own experiences... BUT that doesn't mean we're wrong.

In the example of the good marriage vs bad marriage, for example, I would say that if hubby/wifey occasionally neglects to take out the trash, it could be attributed to "forgetting" or being too busy with something else, etc. But if it happens every day, then it becomes a pattern, hence calling it laziness or whatever. But which came first? Is it laziness because the marriage isn't going well... or is the marriage not going well because of the laziness?

Or in the case of the job and performance evaluation... if one employee arrives on time every day and does the job adequately well, that does deserve some credit. Is it better or worse than another employee that may actually perform the job better, but is constantly late or calling in sick or is otherwise unreliable?

Just my thoughts so far... I'm interested to see where you go with this!



posted on Jun, 26 2015 @ 12:22 PM
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a reply to: Boadicea


I understand that we all judge people/situations according to our own standards, based on our own experiences... BUT that doesn't mean we're wrong.


Yes, that is true. Being biased doesn't eliminate the possibility of truth, but it does lower the probability.

In an exchange on facebook over this article, I commented facetiously on the small sample size and lack of controls. Someone said (not realizing I was being facetious) that all life experience has a small sample size and a lack of controls, to which I fully agreed and inquired (jokingly) as to why people take it so seriously.

That people are inherently "unscientific" in this way is what I'm referring to.


In the example of the good marriage vs bad marriage, for example, I would say that if hubby/wifey occasionally neglects to take out the trash, it could be attributed to "forgetting" or being too busy with something else, etc.


Yes, it sounds like that is an alright marriage. Exactly where is the line drawn between occasional and excessive neglect? If he doesn't do it, intentionally or not, 5 times, is that grounds for an argument? What about 6 times? A "heated discussion"? At what point does the fact that the quarrel is over moving a bag from one plastic container to another one 30 feet away seep in?

The consequences of the different options make taking it out (even for the annoyed partner) almost infinitely better to just take the trash out.


But if it happens every day, then it becomes a pattern, hence calling it laziness or whatever. But which came first? Is it laziness because the marriage isn't going well... or is the marriage not going well because of the laziness?


You said it, yourself; different people have different perspectives. They notice different things depending upon how they were raised. Someone who notices and is bothered by their partner not taking the trash out will be offended, but they will most likely not be aware of what forces (if any) led to them being annoyed by their partner not taking the trash out. In the absence of knowledge of such forces, they assume they have a preference for partners who take the trash out.

There's nothing wrong with the assumption itself, but it's not necessarily true.


If one employee arrives on time every day and does the job adequately well, that does deserve some credit. Is it better or worse than another employee that may actually perform the job better, but is constantly late or calling in sick or is otherwise unreliable?


It depends upon the idiosyncrasies of the people who interact with this employee, along with the ones responsible for staffing.

A company doesn't typically fire just for the fun of it, and the legal costs associated with doing it for bad reasons discourage it. The negative perception of firing people means that it is usually only done when it is necessary, or when it can be said to be necessary.

In order for a company to fire someone, then, there:
1) needs to be a problem and
2) that problem needs to be solved in part or whole by firing the person in question

The employee could intervene at either step. One intervention for both steps is working correctly, as expected. An intervention for step #2 is to avoid being associated with what your company has learned to call a problem. You emit (for lack of a more awesome and meaningful word) various stimuli that employees have been trained to detect, and some of those are problematic stimuli.

You definitely gave me a lot of things to think about...
edit on 26/6/2015 by zackli because: (no reason given)

edit on 26/6/2015 by zackli because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 26 2015 @ 04:59 PM
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a reply to: zackli


Exactly where is the line drawn between occasional and excessive neglect? If he doesn't do it, intentionally or not, 5 times, is that grounds for an argument? What about 6 times? A "heated discussion"? At what point does the fact that the quarrel is over moving a bag from one plastic container to another one 30 feet away seep in?


If we could figure that out, we'd put divorce lawyers out of business!


The consequences of the different options make taking it out (even for the annoyed partner) almost infinitely better to just take the trash out.


I can only speak for myself and my marriage, but I agree; if that's the biggest problem I have, then I'm a very lucky woman! I consider that the time to choose my battles carefully.... Is the battle really worth it? What do I really expect to gain from forcing the issue? What can I lose by forcing the issue? It's possible to win the battle and lose the war so to speak. Am I going to leave my husband just because he doesn't take the trash out? (And thus guaranteeing that I will always have to take the trash out anyway!!!) Of course, if that's the greatest value I see in a spouse, it seems I'd be doing him a favor.


In order for a company to fire someone, then, there:
1) needs to be a problem and
2) that problem needs to be solved in part or whole by firing the person in question

The employee could intervene at either step. One intervention for both steps is working correctly, as expected. An intervention for step #2 is to avoid being associated with what your company has learned to call a problem. You emit (for lack of a more awesome and meaningful word) various stimuli that employees have been trained to detect, and some of those are problematic stimuli.


Another intervention by the employee could be to recognize one's shortcomings and over-compensate another way, thus remaining an asset to the company. For example, if you know that being late will be a frequent occurrance due to unavoidable circumstances, be the first to stay late to get the job done, or any time that little extra is needed.

But I guess that would require the cooperation and appreciation of the employer, which may or may not be forthcoming... which bring us right back to social biases and their implications...



posted on Jun, 27 2015 @ 04:59 AM
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a reply to: Boadicea


If we could figure that out, we'd put divorce lawyers out of business!


I don't really like that answer. I don't think there is a specific number of occurrences that makes it "okay" to have a divorce or break up with someone. That doesn't mean it won't be done, just that it will always be messy. If the relationship is always on the table, neither partner has peace of mind.


Of course, if that's the greatest value I see in a spouse, it seems I'd be doing him a favor.


Not if he takes great pride in his ability to take out the trash



Another intervention by the employee could be to recognize one's shortcomings and over-compensate another way, thus remaining an asset to the company.


That probably wouldn't work long term unless the employee's shortcomings were very short and their over-compensations were great.

It all comes down to the employer's perception of the necessary qualities for an employee. Corporations are far more rational because their ends are so narrowly focused. Focusing on what maximizes one thing (eg profits) is far easier than taking into consideration ethical concerns, profits, and the impact on the environment. If person A has an absence during the peak hours of a shift on a regular basis and person B applies with no such conflicts, it is a much better decision to hire person B and let person A go. It doesn't matter that person A is looking after the kids of the owner of the company, according to this very narrow reasoning process.


But I guess that would require the cooperation and appreciation of the employer, which may or may not be forthcoming...


Yes, you can only do so much about an employee's attitude toward work or his company.



posted on Jun, 28 2015 @ 03:53 AM
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originally posted by: zackli
Certain aspects of the "stimulus" are more salient than others, and it is these that they base the judgment on. Whether the judgments of those salient stimuli are accurate is another question altogether...


My best guess is that, like many things involving human perception, it's most likely a matter of subjectivity and differs on an individual basis.

For whatever reason, sometimes people simply don't like other people. If a boss decides they don't like an employee because that employee says "like" too much, they may decide the employee is a lazy oaf that needs to be fired because of any number of minute details only they were looking for.

I think the person who's biased will decide the number of times a thing needs to happen in order to make a judgement by themselves and there is no real way of determining such a thing.

It's certainly not always reasonable but, there's not much a person can do about it if they aren't told how they need to act in order to correct it before the judgement is made.

It would seem that social bias is something of a pit-fall that is basically unavoidable but that most people probably assume won't play an unreasonable factor in their day to day lives.



posted on Jun, 28 2015 @ 05:52 AM
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a reply to: zackli

From what I experience and observe in life so far, this is absolutely true. People will eventually influence others to react to them as they expect. Maybe not at first, but as a relationship develops in time, people who truly sees their self as lovable will be loved, and those who truly believe they are not will not be.

I kind of think there is a sort of competition between peoples views at times, in which the perceptions battle out, to see who will convince the other, who will adapt to the expected schema of the other. Like the person with low self esteem, and the other who has high esteem for them?
The battle of conceptions can be won out through force or endurance, but without a common perception ever being reached between them, the relationship is doomed to end.



posted on Jun, 30 2015 @ 08:37 AM
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a reply to: Hephster


It would seem that social bias is something of a pit-fall that is basically unavoidable but that most people probably assume won't play an unreasonable factor in their day to day lives.


Yes, it is unfortunately an inaccurate assumption. In fact, that's probably why it goes unnoticed and why it isn't such a big deal. I have a fairly intimate knowledge of them, and they usually prevent me from forming any judgment at all... Other than one based upon my perception of the consequences of saying one thing vs. another thing.

It also makes you realize how little is actually known about other people. The number of little inferences and assumptions that are necessary for social life to occur are astounding, and yet it all still happens (relatively) smoothly. It's amazing.



posted on Jun, 30 2015 @ 09:09 AM
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a reply to: Bluesma


From what I experience and observe in life so far, this is absolutely true. People will eventually influence others to react to them as they expect. Maybe not at first, but as a relationship develops in time, people who truly sees their self as lovable will be loved, and those who truly believe they are not will not be.


I often find anything that evokes positive emotions in others is probably not true. I could go on and on describing the biases that led me to this conclusion, but one of three things would happen that makes me not want to:

1) you would use the classic debate stopper "everyone is free to their own opinion" or "let's agree to disagree" - the equivalent of stating that everyone is free to be stupid.
2) you would actually accept the argument, become depressed, and wish I hadn't explained it (not likely).
3) You would try to convince me using any number of "compelling" arguments that you are right and I'm not.


I kind of think there is a sort of competition between peoples views at times, in which the perceptions battle out, to see who will convince the other, who will adapt to the expected schema of the other. Like the person with low self esteem, and the other who has high esteem for them?


If a person has low self-esteem and they defer to someone with high self-esteem, they are still operating according to their own schema. It's not conformity to another's schema that someone with low self-esteem wants, it's conformity to their own. Everyone wants it. It's one of the most pervasive biases (confirmation bias).



posted on Jun, 30 2015 @ 09:15 AM
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a reply to: Hephster


I think the person who's biased will decide the number of times a thing needs to happen in order to make a judgement by themselves and there is no real way of determining such a thing.


I'm not sure if it's me misinterpreting what you're saying, but it sounds as though you're thinking a bias is some sort of affliction that only some people have. Everyone is biased in a particular way towards everything they ever encounter. You are right in saying the person who is biased will decide, but if everyone is biased, that means everyone decides for themselves. There is no objective person.



posted on Jun, 30 2015 @ 04:53 PM
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originally posted by: zackli

I often find anything that evokes positive emotions in others is probably not true. I could go on and on describing the biases that led me to this conclusion, but one of three things would happen that makes me not want to:

1) you would use the classic debate stopper "everyone is free to their own opinion" or "let's agree to disagree" - the equivalent of stating that everyone is free to be stupid.
2) you would actually accept the argument, become depressed, and wish I hadn't explained it (not likely).
3) You would try to convince me using any number of "compelling" arguments that you are right and I'm not.



Or-
I might say we each have the right to their opinion, (without that meaning each has the right to be stupid. Only that in subjects that are "soft science" such as this, there is room for various and differing ideas. No stupidity is necessary, there is no right and wrong)
and then,
continue to form my hypothesis and arguments, for the sake of constructing my own opinion and vision, and giving you an opportunity to do the same with yours.



If a person has low self-esteem and they defer to someone with high self-esteem, they are still operating according to their own schema. It's not conformity to another's schema that someone with low self-esteem wants, it's conformity to their own. Everyone wants it. It's one of the most pervasive biases (confirmation bias).


That is repeating exactly what I said.
Although - you seem to be mixing together two very different things - philosophical theories on "how things work" (in which there is no right or wrong, it is a creative art of mind)
and

Conception of ones self worth and esteem.

When I had responded the first time I was thinking of people like my husband, who just is always sure everyone loves him, and doesn't notice when they don't! The wierd thing is, his view always "wins" - everyone does end up loving him, as if his conviction is so strong, they are compelled to join it.

His bias about himself idetermines how others respond to him.

And most of us know, trying to love someone that doesn't love themself is pretty hard, if not impossible. They will work hard to impress their personal feelings about themself onto others, confirming their view.



posted on Jul, 4 2015 @ 07:15 AM
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a reply to: Bluesma

Hey there, Bluesma.

Sorry about that terribly inaccurate/ignorant... analysis?... of/against you. I fall victim to the very same biases which I suggest affect others.

If one were so inclined, one could say that in your framework of people who love themselves and people who don't, at the particular time that I wrote that and posted it I was one who didn't. Let's just say that if it is true, I don't feel a lack of love at all. The idea of social bias has affected the deepest levels of my identity, leaving practically nothing.


I might say we each have the right to their opinion, (without that meaning each has the right to be stupid. Only that in subjects that are "soft science" such as this, there is room for various and differing ideas. No stupidity is necessary, there is no right and wrong)


Your delusions are yours, and mine are mine. Whether I interpret the right to believe whatever you want to mean the right to be stupid or the right to be brilliant is irrelevant. It is only when your delusions come into contact with my delusions that you see a conflict, and in my system of delusions, the right to one's own opinion IS the right to be stupid. There is no conflict between our points of view, other than the labels we give to each concept.

One of the cornerstones of stupidity is a lack of critical thought, and an opinion is where you stopped thinking critically.


and then, continue to form my hypothesis and arguments, for the sake of constructing my own opinion and vision, and giving you an opportunity to do the same with yours.


I'm glad you are giving me an opportunity to exercise a physical capability I have no choice but to use anyway. Choosing not to use it is, in itself, a choice that I would have to make, and I don't know how I would make that choice.

Thank you for the inevitability.


That is repeating exactly what I said


Not exactly. It is not the same thing to say that a person is conforming to another's opinion of him and that a person is conforming to his opinion of himself, even if they both lead to exactly the same outcome.


Although - you seem to be mixing together two very different things - philosophical theories on "how things work" (in which there is no right or wrong, it is a creative art of mind)
and Conception of ones self worth and esteem.


There is no separating a person's self from the way in which they interpret events in the world. It is an integral part of how they interpret meaning. A young earth creationist and an evolutionary biologist both have fundamentally different selves, and both have a correspondingly different system of meaning.


When I had responded the first time I was thinking of people like my husband, who just is always sure everyone loves him, and doesn't notice when they don't!


Funny how statistics suggests anecdotes are not sufficient evidence of anything, and yet it is, in the end, all we have.

I remember learning about an experiment on differences in opinion on whether the 70's had better music or the 80's while watching a social psychology lecture a while back. It had people write down their response, and what bands they used as prototypes of the decade. Then, other people who didn't write their opinion judged the responses of people in each category and the people who judged the responses thought the other person was right, considering only the bands they wrote.

It was fascinating, disturbing, and a large number of other adjectives that fail to adequately describe everything I'm trying to say. At the same time that it is obvious, it is not.



posted on Jul, 4 2015 @ 07:56 AM
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originally posted by: zackli

One of the cornerstones of stupidity is a lack of critical thought, and an opinion is where you stopped thinking critically.

I disagree.

and then, continue to form my hypothesis and arguments, for the sake of constructing my own opinion and vision, and giving you an opportunity to do the same with yours.


I'm glad you are giving me an opportunity to exercise a physical capability I have no choice but to use anyway. Choosing not to use it is, in itself, a choice that I would have to make, and I don't know how I would make that choice.

Thank you for the inevitability.


I disagree, again. Resistance training with others is sort of particular in it's effects. One could argue that you can create your own resistance internally by challenging your own ideas and thoughts (the internal dialogue taking opposing positions, going through an imaginary debate with oneself). Yet I find that brings with it limits to what ways you shall challenge yourself. It is only when coming from someone with an entirely different view, that you get criticisms you would never have thought of, challenging you to expand your vision, and in the process, repair holes in your concept.

Watch people who were very spoiled as kids, with parents that never challenged their ideas, they have great confidence in their ideas and views, and the holes in their logic (which may obvious to everyone else) they do not perceive at all!

Plus their ideas remain rather "small" not very strong or adaptable in the world of memes, for lack of exercise and growth in strength. Exercise, even through resistance training, is beneficial.
If you practice boxing with a friend, that helps you both develop your skills; same goes with thinking.




There is no separating a person's self from the way in which they interpret events in the world. It is an integral part of how they interpret meaning. A young earth creationist and an evolutionary biologist both have fundamentally different selves, and both have a correspondingly different system of meaning.


But even people with the same or similar systems of meaning can have a vastly different image of their self.




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