Re: Critical thinking in memetics

Robert G. Grimes (
Tue, 02 Jun 1998 12:51:51 -0400

Date: Tue, 02 Jun 1998 12:51:51 -0400
From: "Robert G. Grimes" <>
Subject: Re: Critical thinking in memetics

Yesterday I received a copy of a couple of papers from an acquaintance of mine on
the net at the University of Utah.

Specifically, they are as follows:

Testosterone Changes During Vicarious Experiences of Winning and Losing Among
Fans at Sporting Events

Paul C. Bernhardt, University of Utah, Dept. of Educational Psychology,

James M. Dabbs, Jr., Julie A. Fielden, and Candice D. Lutter, Georgia State
University, Department of Psychology...


Influences of Serotonin and Testosterone in Aggression and Dominance: Convergence
With Social Psychology

I asked for copies of these papers after hearing a report on the radio that
picked up on the concept of stimulating hormones by watching sports activities,
etc. A Natural for a sports broadcast but, since I had heard of the study
directly from the author, I was interested.

The whole point of bringing this up is because of my recent discussions about the
"rush of the meme" possibly being the motivating forces behind the desire for
replication caused by the production of neuro transmitters, such as serotonin,
endorphins, dopamine, etc., and the subsequent production of other hormonal
effects from this initiation of the meme, i.e., my previous correspondence
alluded to the production of sexual sensations, feelings of anger, calming
effects of opioids, and various combinations, that satisfy some need of the
organism, etc., all possibly associated with the presence and influence of the
meme upon the host.

In these papers Bernhardt relates aggression, dominance, and feelings of elation
associated with spectator participation at athletic contests where "ones side"
wins (plus the reverse associated with losing) and the levels of testosterone in
the spectators, both during the games and subsequently. The combinations of
serotonin (or the lack of it) and tester one production associated with
dominance, aggressive behavior, etc., is interesting and, to my mind, brings
about again the likelihood of these processes being primary factors behind the
stimulus to propagate memetic constructs.... (It is not any "stretch" to compare
vicarious responses to sporting events to similar responses at religious
services, commercial hyping events, political rallies, etc. with all of these
accompanied by their respective memes)

Hopefully, more will be done with actual empirical work where measurements of
neuro transmitters, metabolites or antagonists, etc., and subsequent endocrinal
and/or other hormonal activities on the organism affecting our behavior will be
accomplished. It appears to me to be most promising and logical if "ideas" about
such things stimulate such behavioral responses.

A chart in the paper outlines how high Testosterone increases Status Seeking
Behaviors (Dominance Seeking) which, at the same time, Increases Likelihood of a
Frustrating Event

This is paralleled by Low Serotonin Increasing Responsivity to Aversive Stimuli
which Increases Likelihood of Interpreting Frustration as Aversive

And, together, these Increase the Likelihood of Aggressive Behavior...

Again, to my mind, all of this lends partial support and credence to those
suspicions of the involvement of associated production of neuro transmitters by
the "shape of the meme," and their subsequent actions toward behavior, enhancing
or discouraging, etc., that make us respond to our memes by replicating them in



Bob Grimes Jacksonville, Florida

Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore....."

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