Presentation on theme: "The sleep of reason produces monsters Goya, Francisco Caprichos."— Presentation transcript:
The sleep of reason produces monsters Goya, Francisco Caprichos
The rational animal – homo economicus How far does our rationality reach? Is it good to go too far with rationality?
Reasoning Deduction: Wason task & its errors Induction: John studied accountancy at university John works at an accountant’s office. Therefore John is an accountant. Social errors in experimental economics game theories (homo economicus – building on a hedonistic human nature) Ultimatum games Dollar auction Rationality overspilling
Religion A particularly common interpretation of irrationality by some
Sociology of religions Five main religions: Judaism Christianity Muslim Hinduism Buddhism This is based on a historical account – not on current sociological averages
Religions – how important is it?
Religions in the world
Contradictions What is the exact definition of religion? What is the OPPOSITE of religion? Atheism? Unbelief?
Atheism - The Lenin Mausoleum Embalmed body of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin although Eva Perón Abraham Lincoln Some religions (Muslims, Jews) explicitly forbid embalming 2 reasons for embalming Temporary preservation until proper burial (Princes Diana, American Civil War, Crusades) Long-term Preserving for veneration
An interesting footnote The Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan Museum of the History of Religion and Atheism Anti-religious propaganda
The psychology of religion And much more early inborn core concepts (causality, agency) attribution and its flaws the minimal scheme violation mechanism
Common reasons Why be religious? Popular beliefs Why have mascots? Make sense of otherwise unpredictable events Illness Personal crisis Adolescence – identity crisis Luck, chance, etc.. Make sense of the world – the problem of attribution
Causality/Intention - obsession Gergely & Csibra
Attribution: percieved cause of action Internal vs external attribution Consensus – different individuals – same situation Distinctiveness – same individual – different situation Consistency – same individual – same situation Interoceptive sensations of bodily action
Flaws in the system Self-serving attributions – just world hypothesis Avoid feelings of vulnerability and mortality – religion? Actor/observer effect (Jones and Nisbett) – fundamental attribution error Attention: drawing attention either to self or others shifts attribution
Self-awareness Why do we inevitably feel stupid after an interview or presentation? self-awareness – how conscious we are of our own looks, behaviour and words Enhances negative opinion – as a result of experiencing oneself as the source of perception and action Interview – people look bored – reason person/fatigue Footnote: depression – more self-aware?
God’s authorship Authorship in a word recognition task Participants are told they are competing with a computer The computer takes the word off the screen after 450, 500, 550, 600, 650, 700 ms Participants have to make a judgement on 1-6 scale whether it was them or the computer who took the word off the screen Dijksterhuis, A. et al., EVects of subliminal priming of self and God on self-attribution of authorship for events, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology (2007), doi: /j.jesp
17 ms prime „me” „computer” „God” „the” „broccoli” „xxxxx” 250 ms premask 50 ms postmask Target word Judgement task: was it you or the computer? (1 computer 6 me)
No differences in lexical decision time
May common Sense and Reason prevail Evolutionary psychology of religion and the reign of science
Richard Dawkins – an introduction Primer to Dawkins BBC programmes The Enemies of Reason. The Root of all Evil series The God Delusion Slaves to superstition The Virus of faith REASON and IRRATIONALITY
Disclaimer: my religion: Harry Potterism Hermione Granger & the Resurrection Stone Hermione, ". 'But that's - I'm sorry, but that's completely ridiculous! How can I possibly prove it doesn't exist?.. you could claim that anything's real if the only basis for believing in it is that nobody's proved it doesn't exist!‘ Bertrand Russell: the Holy flying China Teapot in Orbit around the Sun RoE Too small to be spotted by telescope – we are all teapot-agnostics Fairies, goblins, giants, Dawkins: We’re all atheists about most of the Gods that societies have ever believed in – some of us just go one God further.
Disclaimer: my religion: Harry Potterism Hermione Granger & the Resurrection Stone Hermione, ". 'But that's - I'm sorry, but that's completely ridiculous! How can I possibly prove it doesn't exist?.. you could claim that anything's real if the only basis for believing in it is that nobody's proved it doesn't exist!‘ Bertrand Russell: the Holy flying China Teapot in Orbit around the Sun RoE Too small to be spotted by telescope – we are all teapot-agnostics Fairies, goblins, giants, Thor, Aphrodite Dawkins: We’re all atheists about most of the Gods that societies have ever believed in – some of us just go one God further. Severus Snapism
On evolution and religion
The Four Horsemen of the anti- Apocalypse * The God Delusion: Dawkins *Breaking the Spell: Dennett *The end of Faith: Harris *god is not Great: Hitchens Would you like the Churches empty? The Bible as a literary piece = Harry Potter
Evolutionary accounts of religion Richard Dawkins Openly attacking religion – derogatory of believers Supporter of the Brights movement Bright – Paul Geisert’s umbrella term Daniel C. Denett More of a compromise Restricts himself to the argument that religion can and should be studied by science
Daniel Clement Dennett Philosopher With an interesting history (father spy, self-education) Darwin’s dangerous Idea Consciousness Explained No Cartesian theatre bundle of semi-independent agencies content-fixation
Denett on religion An argument towards the scientific study of religion – terrorist attempts 9/11 Explanation given on the basis of meme theory (by Dawkins) Evaluation of good and bad aspects
Denett on religion Part I: Opening Pandora's Box Relationship of science and religion Part II: The Evolution of Religion Part III: Religion Today What should be done to stop religious fanatics
There is reason in unreasonable behaviour – somewhere, if you look long enough The story of the suicidal ant and the lancet fluke (a small worm) There are many ideas to die for protecting ideologies (other animals protect food, cubs or habitat only) The curious example of the dog (domestication) Ideas are not intelligent themselves- why should they cause others to kill Neither are lancet flukes and the wings of butterflies
What is religion for Dennett? Religion Social systems Participants avow belief In supernatural agents OR Agents whose approval is to be sought Elvis Presley fan club? Need not be anthropomorphic Jehova exists in real-time according to some accounts and not real-time according to others If prayer is a symbolic activity, not addressed to anyone, it is not part of religion - meditation Maybe this is the origin of religion Some rituals can pass to non-religious (Santa Claus or Halloween) Private religions – spiritual in his terms, not religious Black magic and satanist cults They are not religions, because no one thinks so?? Buddhism & Confucianism (again a contradiction)
Breaking which spell? Breaking the spell – of religion The analogy of the men with a cell phone in the room Religion as a potentially evil spell – sharin gas attack, 9/11 Other ones mentioned: Drugs Gambling Alcohol Child pornography Addiction? – life without it is not worth living Excessive physical or psychological dependence (conversation? Communication?)
Breaking which spell? The fear of knowing Wouldn’t an extensive and invasive examination destroy the phenomenon itself? Nobody knows the answer – incl.Denett Endangered species – often become extinct because of capturing them to breed – which they don’t in captivity Isolated people are often changed if studied by anthropologists Cadavres were prohibited to study – medicine started off, when they did Alfred Kinsey’s study of Human sexual behaviour – myths dispelled – it improved sex life although consider „free love”
Breaking which spell? Reformulating the category names Gays and straights (and not glum) Bright and … supers? (from supernatural) Mind Philip Tetlock’s sacred values You’re money or your life! I’m thinking, I’m thinking! Aside – mugging becomes lucrative..
Breaking which spell? Religion is a natural phenomena Not an opposition of culture Of course it is cultural Not an opposition of supernatural either It is in the nature of the homo sapiens to create religious memes New myths What about a Harry Potter day? A new pretext to recieve presents! Would you be in favour of inventing it? Santa Claus
Some questions about science non-overlapping magisteria argument basically the same argument as Dawkins’ – and Gould’s It is possible to be neutral to religion The gap between mind sciences (Geistwissenschaften) and nature sciences (Naturwissenschaften) is narrowing (though not yet disappeared) (remember SSSM criticism)
Some questions about science Homo sapiens – the power of the source of prediction The causality-obsession We can minimalize damages by preventing them – no other species has been observed to do that (collecting food is a general answer to periodic changes) Epidemics Economical crisis Hurricanes Can we prevent the next 9/11 by studying religion? What if music is bad for you? It can’t feed anyone or cure the ill… All he asks for is to study religion – if it turns out to be bad, we need to think if it turns out to be good, atheist attacks can be silenced
Why Good things happen Because of evolution… Footprints of coyotes and dogs Why do coyotes howl? The homo sapiens sugar industry Tons of sugar and its counterpart – obesity clinics, toothpaste Co-evolution of plant strategies to spread and homo s. strategies to find energy source The free-floating rationale – the unknowing, unconscious agent It is perfectly rational as a mechanism, but nobody – including the participants – is aware, not conscious i.e. you don’t need to understand it for it to work
Why Good things happen The Good Trick obsession Anything that enhances fitness is a Good Trick Flight and eyes were invented repeatedly over the course of evolution Religion takes time & energy, both valuable and finite resources -> it must be a Good Trick -> cui bono? Free-floating rationale works with culture too – that is a meme You don’t have to understand the shape of the boat in terms of biodynamics - it it is a tradition (N.B. is this true for modern science ?)
Why Good things happen The CUI BONO obsession No free luch – somebody has to benefit „Evolution is remarkably efficient in sweeping pointless accidents off the scene” – extreme adaptationism? Remember the lancet fluke And the toxoplasma gondii Which lives in rats, drives them reckless, so they get eaten by cats, which is the only place they can reproduce Sexual reproduction vs asexual – making offspring more inscrutable to parasites – actually adaptation in general Parasites are in an arms race with hosts
Why Good things happen The CUI BONO of religion The sweet tooth theory Religion is good for us – just as sugar is – and we have developed a taste for it And just as sugar – saccharine – it can be cheated The Symbiont Theories The lancet fluke theory Primarily it is not the Homo S that religion is good for Mutualists Commensals Parasites Hundred trillion cells – 90% not human cells
Why Good things happen The CUI BONO of religion Sexual selection The Peacock’s tail theory Runaway selection A whim of females? Fitness indicator Not a whim a sign of health Faithfulness Intelligence – music Group selection People with religion were more altruistic in necessary cases – better survival in rough times The pearl theory – spandrels in a cathedral A beautiful by-product Does not enhance anything, it is an objet trouvé
The roots of religion Historians „There have always been religion” Dennett: that only means religion is more ancient than history writing The CARGO cults & Melanesians – shows the formation of new religions The John Frum cult The Pomio Kivung cult
The roots of religion Formation of new religions goes at an astounding pace 2-3 created every day Average lifetime is less than a decade Religions – as known today – are relatively young historically compared to other cultural phenomena Christianity – cca. 2,000 years Judaism – cca. 4,000 years Writing – cca. 5,000 years Agriculture – cca. 40,000 Language – cca. 35,000 - ?
The roots of religion Psychological explanations – raisons d’être 1. To confort 2. To explain the unexplainable 3. Encourage group cohesion Premature curiosity satisfaction (Dennett – the hows and whys)
Pascal Boyer 1. Most of relevant machinery is not consciously available 2. Religion is based on modules that are part of ordinary cognition 3. Mental Modules combined
Pascal Boyer What mental modules are combined? Hyperactive Agent Detector Memes as supernormal stimuli– right ratio of irrational in the ordinary Full Access Agent (access to strategical information) off-line social interaction Divination – decision making Explanation Ritualistic behaviour Healing Decision making Social bonding Theory of mind Agency detection Contagion avoidance Social exchange
Biological motion based on a few dots it does not work upside down pattern of activity gender! Useful if you need to find agentive entities in a noisy background
The roots of religion HADD – Hyperactive Agent Detector Device (Justin Barrett) Signal detection theory and game theory combined Is this noise a tiger? tigerrustling tiger HitMiss rustling False alarmCorrect rejection I think it is It really is
The roots of religion HADD – Hyperactive Agent Detector Device (Justin Barrett) Better safe than sorry Missing a signal is more expensive than a false alarm Animism Children the sun smiles at you There are spirits in every tree Adults?? My computer hates me… The less predictable something is, the more you tend to attribute intentions to it EoR SS 33.00
The roots of religion Practical animism – flowers and river Rain dances – impractical animism (at least without proper meteorological knowledge) Skinner, B.F. Pigeon superstition Random reinforcement Elaborate dances
The roots of religion Successful memes Some counterintuitive ideas are more interesting than others Invisible person? Living dead? Invisible axe with no handle? Axe made of cheese? Successful? Contradict only one or two biases – but in other ways they fot the schema Often concerned with animacy Proto-meme – obsessional thought Do not miss the circular argument – again…
Pascal Boyer – Religion Explained Concepts of the supernatural = legends, myths, folktales, fantasy & Harry Potter! Domain concepts (person, living thing, artefacts) They retain some expectations held as default true of that domain Yet specific features violate these default expecations
The roots of religion Supernormal stimuli – success? Tinbergen – the gull and the orange spot Humans love to surround theselves with supernormal stimuli Music – rather pure sounds than noise Pure vowels – melody Pure consonants – rhythm Pure coloured pictures - art Bilateral symmetry It is only characteristic when the other faces you Sign of health!
The roots of religion „But the bogeyman under your bed is not yet religion” Non-referential names abound Cinderella Unicorns Harry Potter – sorry! Severus Snape Flying carpets Pudus You need to believe that they exist! BELIEF Knowledge vs belief battle - Rationality and irrationality? 4hMApoc intertwined everywhere (lucky charms, rituals [my bag]) Contradictory knowledge and belief? [ghosts]
Hypertrophic social intelligence Strategic information = theory of mind = intentional stance Homo s. obsessed with societal relationships and other minds (remember their group size!) Stories – learn about the intentions and beliefs of others = gossip A Full Access Agent? In traditions it is often ancestral figures Parents seem like that to children Freud – Father Figure mythic struggles Not necessarily omniscient – if you lost your knife vs. You left it at the crime scene (strategic information only) They became omniscient later on (Boyer)
The roots of religion Why are parents like full access agents? Precocial species less prone to epigenetic effects Altricial species Prolonged paternal care & training – extended information transmission Informational superhighways Genes is everything needed to be coded in the genome? Presupposed regularities Gravity, salinity, electromagnetic wave spectrum, composition of atmosphere Instructional pathyway imprinting
The roots of religion Coevolution of cuteness – altricial species Humans Dinosaurs - fossils Mickey Mouse
The roots of religion Coevolution of honest information - teaching It is in the best interest of parents to inform and not misinform It is in the best interests of children to listen and be obedient Authority figures often have hypnotical powers analgesia
The pedagogical stance Particularity of the human species Jared Diamond – we have discovered all edible plants (even if preparation needed) and most medical plants Re-invention Emulation Imitation – intention-based! Makes fast-mapping, cultural advance possible
HUMAN CULTURES vs. Early and Fast-learning Wide range of cultural forms In a variety of domains Arbitrariness, Conventionality, Symbolism => Cognitive ‘opacity’ => Cognitive ‘opacity’ of content => Single type of input: Non-communicative primary functional use of skill PRIMATE CULTURES Population-specific traditions (e.g., nut cracking, termite fishing) Slow acquisition Few cultural skills Restricted domains No Arbitrariness, No Conventionality, No Symbolism => Cognitive ‘transparency’ => Cognitive ‘transparency’ of content => Multiple types of input forms: a) Non-communicative primary functional use of skill b) Communicative Ostensive- referential Demonstration of skill
a) ‘TEACHING’ in apes (?) Widely shared popular (but probably false) belief : Apes ‘teach’ their offsprings (kind of “just-like-us”) (C. Boesch, 2009, clip)
a) ‘TEACHING’? NO! There is no: - demonstration - selective direction to relevant info - correction - negative or positive feedback - no communicative eye-contact with learner or referential gaze-direction ‘Model’s action: purely functional motor performance of skill No modification of action due to presence of learner It takes 6-8 years to master nut-cracking for juvenile chimps Scientific consensus: No evidence of pedagogical guidance of on-looking juvenile ape by expert parent
b) IMITATION? NO!!!! Learner focuses only on goal- outcome, visible result of action No attention paid to manner of means action or use of tool Means actions are NOT copied Repeated attempts to reproduce interesting outcome through trying out own motor repertoire It takes 6-8 years (!) to master nut-cracking for juvenile chimps
c) ‘EMULATION’ YES ‘Emulation’ learning= Slow learning process through individual re-discovery of observed new skill Through repeated “trial-and-error” attempts to achieve observed outcome By applying a variety of different actions from own motor action repertoire eventually ‘hitting upon’ an efficient solution (means action) that is retained Fidelity of transmission is relatively low (‘rediscovered’ means is not always the same as the observed means) Individual Variants are often generated
The Argument Cognitive mechanisms of cultural learning are adaptations to the type of cultural forms they have evolved to transmit. 2. Cultural products of human vs. non-human (primate) cultures differ significantly in their degree of cognitive opacity vs. transparency for the naïve learner. 3. The emergence of cognitively opaque cultural forms in hominid evolution represented a learnability problem for existing learning mechanisms that were adapted for the transmission of cognitively transparent contents (e.g., emulation in primate cultures) 4.The ensuing evolutionary pressure led to the selection of a species-unique relevance- guided social communicative learning mechanism of mutual design: ‘Natural Pedagogy’
Natural Pedagogy (Gergely et al., 2007; Csibra & Gergely, 2006; 2009, Trends in Cogn. Sci.) A human-specific, cue-driven cognitive adaptation of mutual design dedicated to ensure efficient learning of relevant cultural knowledge. Humans are predisposed to ’teach’ and ’learn’ new and relevant cultural information from each other. Natural Pedagogy is a system of human communication that is specifically adapted for the transmission of generic knowledge about properties of referents that are generalizable to kinds.
The pedagogical stance Necessary: ostensive cues The head-lamp experiment Reinterpretation of the A not B error
Meltzoff’s (1988) “Head-on-Box” study involved an ostensive-communicative cuing context Example of fast learning and long-term retention of a cognitively opaque (partially understood) novel means action novel means action by 14-month-old human infants
Your personality You have a need for other people to like and admire you, and yet you tend to be critical of yourself. While you have some personality weaknesses you are generally able to compensate for them. You have considerable unused capacity that you have not turned to your advantage. Disciplined and self-controlled on the outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure on the inside. At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing. You prefer a certain amount of change and variety and become dissatisfied when hemmed in by restrictions and limitations. You also pride yourself as an independent thinker; and do not accept others' statements without satisfactory proof. But you have found it unwise to be too frank in revealing yourself to others. At times you are extroverted, affable, and sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary, and reserved. Some of your aspirations tend to be rather unrealistic.
Superstition – believe me on my word The Forer-effect (Bertram R. Forer) Barnum effect Personal validation fallacy – subjective validation Horoscopes EoR SS 5.40 Positive traits Authority Particularity Cold-reading (vs hot reading) EoR SS Mentalists, fortune tellers, psychics, mediums Communicating with the dead
The roots of religion Suppose there is a Full Access Agent – you need a link to know what he knows Divination! take away the responsability – and the acrimony of bad decisions Flip a coin – More serious rituals Numerology Astrology Clouds Cards Tea leaves Melted wax pored into water Jaynes exopsycic methods of decision making The idea of randomness is relatively new
The roots of religion Decision making and consciousness Maybe people just need a placebo effect of support from their ancestors – (remember what we said about the consciousness of decision making!) Skeptics are spoiling the fun
The roots of religion Health Insurance Argument Shamans and rituals – it actually works Ritual healing : Psychological/hypnotic effect – usually called placebo today Shamanic treatment is correlated with patient hypnotizability Childbirth! Direct connection to evolution
The roots of religion Why are we susceptible to hypnotizing effects at all? Humphrey (2002) economic resource management Body has its own cures : fever, vomiting, pain, immune system However this is costly Stress reduces the possibility of these responses – energy is needed for immediate defense against something else Only works if there is hope of curing Hypnosis creates both! Shamanic healing – ancient health insurance!
The roots of religion Rituals – functions Divination Shamanistic healing Multilexing – creating a common memory store to preserve knowledge The more people know sg the less likely it is that it is forgotten – repeating all over Evans-Pritchard – shamans typically try to enlist people from a young age to these rituals
Cultural evolution of religion A new perspective
Stewardship Practitioners of folk religions do not go about convincing each other of the existence of the spirits – no more than we go about convincing each other of the existence of germs, atoms, oxigens or gravity How do you know? Best to rely on others about knowledge Conducting R&D is expensive Neolithic – agricultural revolution and population boom – no time to theorize Separation of proto-science and proto-religion Unable to refute Invisible- cannot Explicit instructions not to
Stewardship Of sheep and men Domestication – caused a population growth in both species Clear case of symbiosis Religion meme and its shepherds Teachers and priests keep religious and calculus memes alive The memes keep them alive Dawkins’s idea on kleptocracy the entertwining of the political and religious Threat of an Ultimate Being
Richard Dawkins Ethologist and evolutionary biologist The Selfish Gene The Extended Phenotype The Blind Watchmaker Climbing Mount Improbable The God Delusion – Root of all Evil The elephant called religion – the process of non- thinking called faith.
The God Delusion The book was a best-seller sold over 1,5 million copies and translated to 31 languages „If this book works as I intend, religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down. What presumptuous optimism! Of course, dyed-in-the-wool faith-heads are immune to argument, their resistance built up over years of childhood indoctrination using methods that took centuries to mature (whether by evolution or design).” „But I believe there are plenty of open-minded people out there:” Conversely it raised sales of spiritual books by 50% and the sales of the Bible by 120% (amazon.com)
The God hypothesis Morals would you commit murder, rape or robbery if you knew that no God existed? Kant : categorical imperatives Dawkins : altruistic genes selected for by evolution creating natural empathy Strongy against the religious indoctrination of children - EoR- VoF Should all cultural practices be banned then?
Vive la raison, vive le science! Mors Derrida et les monstres! Science is wonderful The enemies of reason SS The Crisis of reason 1. Evidence vs experience (private feelings) Ugly post-modern relativist agenda (Mors Derrida!) Philip Tetlock: Sacred Value Protection Model Secular and sacred values – trade-offs - incommesurable Does it make a difference between science and religion?
Mental illnesses – irrationality par excellence? Darwinian models of health and illness - headlong against the Panglossian idea
If we are to live in this perfectest perfect world, why are there still illnesses around? How come we’re still alive? Arms race model
The bacteria arms race Our strategy: Symptoms due to leukocyte endogene mediators Induce fever, immune system activation Their strategy: Quick death – cholera – diarrhea Viruses: not deadly - plain cold – coughing Self-defeating strategies Margie profit – pregnancy nausea In fact seems to enhance fitness – CUI BONO? for the infant – spontaneous miscarriages becomes less frequent
If we are to live in this perfectest perfect world, why are there still illnesses around? Particular problem arises if we extend this argument to mental illnesses The anti-psychiatry movement started in the 60s – Thomas Szasz Allan V. Horwitz and Jerome C. Wakefield: The Loss of Sadness: How Psychiatry Transformed Normal Sorrow into Depressive Disorder
What is a mental illness? Normal and abnormal Deviant Personal distress Maladaptive/Dysfunctionality Danger ?
Deviance and norm Culture and time-bound Norm? Time of withdrawal after death (Indian widows and sati?) Homosexuality?
Cultural variations Main disorders everyhere – but with minor differences Culture bound disorders Koro an obsessive fear that one’s penis will withdraw into one’s abdomen, seen only in Malaya and other regions of southern Asia. Windigo intense craving for human flesh and fear that one will turn into a cannibal, seen only among Algonquin Indian cultures Anorexia nervosa an eating disorder characterized by intentional self-starvation, until recently seen only in affluent Western cultures Depression – major depressive disorder?
Chronological change Olympe de Gauges She was diagnosed in 1973 with an illness called „revolutionary hysteria” Abnormal sexuality – excessive menstruational flow Narcissism (predilection of daily baths) Lack of moral sense (refusal to remarry) Mental illness as a category seems to change Geographically Chronologically (Michel Foucault!)
Deviance from statistical mean?
Danger True only in the rarest of cases
Easy answer: no such thing exists… Thomas Szasz The myth of mental illness The manufacture of madness Theocracy – democracy – pharmacracy?
SCH Thomas Szasz "If you talk to God, you are praying; If God talks to you, you have schizophrenia. If the dead talk to you, you are a spiritualist; If you talk to the dead, you are a schizophrenic."
Scientology Birth control – death control: suicide is a personal right The right to die
Are we to give up? There is no unitary and all encompassive model for mental illnesses There are lots of models – as an exchange to that Biological Psychoanalytic Behaviourial Cognitive Diathesis-stress System-based Evolutionary?
No model – no illness? How are we to decide if two mental illnesses are the same or different (N.B.: the driving force is statistical – data gathering on population) 1960s – a compromise is made – which is statistics Illness is based on correlations and clustering of symptoms
Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV (1994) - R. More than 300 psychological disorders described – diagnostic categories No definition of The cause/etiology of the illness The correct method of curing it
Complex model – proximal level of description Disorder Personality Phyical health Idiosynchratic psychic background Environmental background Psychosocial stressors GAF – Global Assessment of functioning
Evolutionary accounts – distal level of description Some assumptions Homo sapiens evolved years ago – there have been no change in brain capacity relative to body size So: what we experience psychologically and emotionally was almost certainly experienced throughout evolution
Remember the levels of selection Individual Reproduction Survival Relatives Groups genes…
Nesse and Williams (1994) 1. Pleiotrope effect beneficial side effects – their positives outweigh the negatives and are inseparable e.g. sickle cell anaemia 2. Time-shift argument Difference between EEA and today’s environment e.g. tooth problems, breast cancer 3. Normal distribution argument Poligenetic inheritence produces extremes in small numbers e.g. extremely tall people, mental retardedness
Nesse and Williams (1994) 4. Defect argument the malfunctioning or lack of a mental module e.g. limblessness, insensitivity to pain 5. Defense – self-defense e.g. coughing or fever in case of mental illnesses 6. Frequency-dependent selection e.g. the appearance of social cheaters is sustainable to a certain degree
Cognitive models of anxiety Maladaptive fear schema More attentive to threatening cues Interpretation of ambiguous situations Automaticity of fear schemas Explicit: not going to be fatally attacked by daddylonglegs Implicitly: avoidance
Anxiety disorders Watson versus genetics
General Anxiety Disorder How many people have you met today?
Phobic disorder A persistent and irrational fear of an object or situation that presents no realistic danger As opposed to anxiety there is a specific object to it
Some phobias are undoubtedly more common than others Snakes Household items Vehicles Cars Planes Blood-injection
Go-noGo task Has to answer quickly – otherwise it is not automatic – 1400 ms window
Spider fear Participants had to approach a frightening-looking spider They had to report anxiety level on the basis of the distance they were groupes into high-fear group and low-fear group
Evolutionary explanation It is not against all harmful animals (big cat phobia is rare) The fear seems to be directed Difficult to perceive Not physically, but chemically dangerous (venomous) Yet – the bigger, the more frightening (logical with some spiders, but the opposite with snakes) Not without foundations – Indian statistics 925 by tigers 20,000 deaths caused by snakes
Snakes are dangerous – a misconception Mind you- this would undermine the simple evolutionary theory Snakes in fact are not less afraid of humans, than humans are of them Cobra’s hoods Elevated stance (3/4th!) Ability to pit Playing dead Most venomous bites are not deadly The more poisinous, the less deaths it provokes (based on mice though) 20% of deaths is a result of trying to kill a snake Co-evolution – they evolved to accomodate human phobia and try not to evoke it and being beaten to death? What would be the point of evolving it? Source Brian Bush’s article The guy also says that there are no really venomous snakes in Australia, whereas other sources list 5 out of the 10 most dangerous to be there (Including the tiger snake, death adder and the taipan)
Impairs motivation, cognition and behaviour Psysical and emotional energy is lessened Motivation to achieve set goals Concentration is limited Personal inadequacy Nothing seems interesting Slowed physical movements No heed to appearance
Depression Unipolar and bipolar
Implicit and ecplicit views Beck: Negative schemas automtically activated World Self Future Dual process theory of depression Behaviorial Activation system Positive appetitive incentive Specific to depression Behaviorial Inhibition System Avoidance behaviour Associated with anxiety disorders – particularly social anxiety Seems to be more general in psychiatric diseases - neuroticity Depressive inhibition – it is detached from environmental cues – has a life of its own
Evolution The general description of depression is difficult, because probably there is no such unitary illness Various evolutionary theories exist, but generally each explains a segment or type of depression, not the disorder in general
SADS – seasonal affective disorder Low on behaviourial activation system to conserve resources Cold weather Vastly reduced vegetation Scarcer prey Zombies – winter hybernation Sufferers respond easily to exposure to artificial or natural light All animals seem to become less active with cold – including deers Optimal temperature coincides with plant vegetation BUT what about the Eskimo?
Bowins:The Amplification effect Human intelligence has amplified emotional states as a by-product – it made us the most emotional species Cognitive activating appraisals (basis of emotion) are more pronounced Intensive because conscious associations (loose your job – scenarios of hunger and necessity) Extension over time The representation of past and future give rise to the amplification of negative scenarios
Psychopathy Hyperrationals? The difference is only about exactly where you store those memories „go with your guts”
Damasio’s self Feeling of emotions depends on the activation of the somatosensory cortices and the insula in particular Descartes: Je pense donc je suis. Memory storage in the body via OMPFC „the somatic marker” hypothesis
Simon Baron-Cohen The female and male brain types
The other side – social constructionists Sex might be biological – but gender is entirely constructed Talking about gender is like fish talking about water Gender is one of the major ways that humans organize their lives: Division of labour Allocation of scarce goods Assigned responsability for taking care of children Choosing people for a job : ageism and sexism exist in all cultures
We are not animals Rituals – animals have none Some of these create gender – different for men and women Incest taboos in H.S. Dominance hierarchies- based not on physical power, but on other things – control of surplus food, etc. Mating feeding nurturing In animals its inborn, in humans its learned
Gender transgression – construction! Some societies have three genders Berdache, hijra, yanith – biologically male, but treated as women Manly hearted women Western society: Transsexuals Transvestites Women fighting in wars
Gender bending Homo sapiens shows very little physical difference between the sexes Needs identifying clothing, jewelry, hairstyles Common gender misidentification with people in jeans and T-shirts Jan Morris Conundrum – easy to shift from one gender to another Queen Elisabeth and Saudi Arabia – an honorary man Theater – Japanese kabuki or Shakespeare’s theatre M Butterfly
Gender blenders Women with short hair, jeans, no jewelry, etc. Sent out from ladies washrooms Tertiary sex characteristics Children are taught, to walk, talk, eat and gesture according to their biological sex The accidental transsexual – the case of circumcision Even bodies are formed Chinese feet Genitalia mutilations Parents create gender entire, with their behaviour to children The Baby X experiment – hypothetical People’s perception of anger or sadness of them if they cry!
Sameness taboo Women in the military are required to wear make- up and skirts at balls Gender differences in society Work and wages (transsexuals) Prestige of a job (Russian doctors) Learned helplessness (opening doors for women)
Freudian psychoanalytic theory Oedipous conflict The Maxist explanation Keep them in the dark Szendi: Evolutionary strategy – control over the very scarce resource of reproduction!
„ Harry Potter is a sexist, neo-conservative autocrat.”
Sexist Women The universal second race Rarely in power – secondary positions Homogenic group compared to men (well characterized) Some argue this is an accident and women are portrayed positively // that of course depends very much on what you consider positive
Sexist- Heads of House Pomona Sprout Minerva McGonagall Filius Flitwick Severus Snape 1. Albus Dumbledore 2. Severus Snape 3. ?Minerva McGonagall? (that only becomes clear in later interviews)
Sexist – main characters – the Dark Side and the Light Side Voldemort Amycus Carrow? Fenrir Greyback Lucius Malfoy Draco Malfoy Severus Snape Albus Dumbledore Harry Potter Ron Weasley Bellatrix Lestrange, Alecto Carrow Narcissa Malfoy? Minerva McGonagall Hermione Granger
Neo-conservative Conservative? I take as „adherent to traditions” Hogwarts is the very symbol of traditions Harry Potter – constant evasion to a Golden age past –family reunion FAMILY itself is central Consider the Weasleys – the ideal family with traditional roles Potter family – and Auror and a ??? Housewife? Aurors in general are men – except for N. Tonks Consider Hogwarts as a quasi-family. /Your house is going to be like your family here./
Autocrat Political power in the hands of a single self-appointed ruler Harry Potter by the end of the series It is rather an oligarchy, a triumvirate ruling over the fate of the world (no cooperation with the ministry, does not tell ANYone what he is doing, battle scene) Autoritarian in sociopsychological sense – group leading Only in the 7th book. 6th – rather ridiculized because on his idea on Malfoy (which in case turns to be true), but by the end already orders people around 1-4th Harry-Hermione division
„ Harry Potter is a sexist, neo-conservative autocrat.” No good answer – please rely on your own common sense. Thank you for your attention! This presentation would not have been possible without the ingeniously fantasy-rich schematic work of J.K. Rowling. I thank her for the inspiration.