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Why our brain divides people into friends and foes
Material posted: Publication date: 31-07-2017
Race, gender, age, language, religion, economic status — all these are signs by which we divide people into two groups: the "us" and "them".

"They" vs "us"

Our brain is "programmed" to divide the whole world into "us" and "them." Scientists have traced this using functional magnetic resonance imaging — a method that displays the activity of different brain areas under certain conditions. Participants 50 milliseconds (this is the twentieth part of a second) showed photographs of faces, and even in that short time the brain had time to divide them into groups A review of neuroimaging studies of race-related prejudice: does amygdala response reflect threat? .

When showed the faces of people of another race, activated the amygdala, responsible for fear, anxiety and aggression.
In addition, when a "foreign" persons less intensified fusiform cells of the cortex — the area responsible for face recognition. because Of this, we are worse than remember the faces of members of races different from our own.

Perhaps the primary role of this division is difficult. "I don't know exactly what, but something is wrong with them," you think first, and then our consciousness generates small facts and plausible fiction to explain why we hate the others.

How is it manifested

We can easily forgive members of their group's misdeeds and transgressions. But if "aliens" are doing something wrong, we believe that this reflects their nature — they have always been and will be. And when the wrong one of "us" we refer to the extenuating circumstances.

Moreover, different types of "others" cause us different feelings (and different neurobiological responses). We see some threatening, aggressive, not trustworthy, others seem to us absurd and become the subject of ridicule.

But sometimes "they" can cause us and disgust. This reaction is associated with insular lobes of the brain. It protects mammals from food poisoning, triggering a gag reflex in response to the taste or smell of rotten food. But in humans it causes not only physical, but moral disgust. When we hear about the vicious actions or see a shocking image, aktiviziruyutsya islet, the proportion of Both of Us Disgusted in My Insula: The Common Neural Basis of Seeing and Feeling Disgust. . Also, this reaction occurs when we encounter certain groups of "aliens", for example drug addicts.

How to deal with it

Go to contact

When people from different groups work together and strive towards a common goal, the contradictions are smoothed out. We come to understand "them" and see similarities with myself.

Find a positive example and turn on the empathy

To get rid of stereotypes, remember someone from the group "others" who enjoyed universal love and respect, for example some kind of celebrity. Or put yourself in the place of the representative of another group and think, what could be the problem. It will change your perception.

Is not equal to one size fits all

Think about the individuals, not the whole group.

Fully recover from a separation of people into two groups is impossible (unless, of course, you are not missing amygdala). But not as bad.

Do not call all members of the group, envision "alien" as an individual.
Don't forget: what you think rational, it is often a simple manipulation of the facts. Focus on common goals. And put yourself in the shoes of others to understand what they're feeling.


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