Re: Looking for a name.

From: Francesca S. Alcorn (
Date: Wed 24 Mar 2004 - 21:55:35 GMT

  • Next message: Keith Henson: "Re: Looking for a name."

    Keith wrote:

    >All of this is true, a battered wife has not been captured in the
    >same sense as a primitive tribal woman. People undergoing
    >fraternity hazing or B&D are not captured in the same sense either.
    >That's not my point. My claim is that the same relatively simple
    >psychological mechanism to bond with a captor/abuser is being turned
    >on--and that tribal capture-bonding is the evolutionary origin of
    >this trait.

    But why not primate joining-a-new-troop stuff - it has got a longer evolutionary history, and probably is the precursor of what you are talking about.

    > It seems that it was not the whole series of words, but the first
    >one, "because," that made the difference. Instead of including a
    >real reason for compliance, Langer's third type of request used the
    >word "because" and then, adding nothing new, merely restated the
    >obvious: Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine
    >because I have to make some copies? The result was that once again
    >nearly all (93 percent) agreed, even though no real reason, no new
    >information was added to justify their compliance. just as the
    >"cheep-cheep" sound of turkey chicks triggered an automatic
    >mothering response from maternal turkeys, even when it emanated from
    >a stuffed polecat, so the word "because" triggered an automatic
    >compliance response from Langer's subjects, even when they were
    >given no subsequent reason to comply. Click, whirr!"

    This is just like lying: everyone knows the person is lying, but unless the lie can be disproven, then retribution is held in check. It is not important what you say, just so long as you offer some sort of an excuse. Kind of like the belly flash of surrender in dogs. The dog stands there hackles raised, dying to attack, but the belly flash throws some sort of kill switch which over rides the ability to attack, although probably not the desire to.

    > It is a testament to the societal value of reciprocation that we
    >have chosen to fight the Krishnas mostly by seeking to avoid rather
    >than to withstand the force of their gift giving. The reciprocity
    >rule that empowers their tactic is too strong-and socially
    >beneficial-for us to want to violate it."

    This is my point exactly, that there are some behaviors which are so crucial to our functioning as social animals that although they may come with a price tag, their benefits to the *group* outweighs that cost (welfare is my case in point). It may not always be to your benefit to get trapped in this reciprocity thing, but it is to your benefit to live in a group with these behaviors.

    These kinds of pro-social behaviors are what many of my evolution-loving friends overlook when they got into some of their
    "survival of the fittest" discussions. And where I disagree with a lot of right-wing conservative thinkers.

    I wonder if sociopaths would feel these same constraints - or if they might not take the Krisha's book and walk away, punch you in the head even if you lied and said you didn't take their stuff, and refuse to let you make your copies.


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