Sonntag, 26. Mai 2019


Contempt and disgust: the emotions of disrespect
Maria Miceli & Cristiano Castelfranchi

>Whereas anger, resentment and indignation are focused on the target's specific misbehavior, moral contempt (as well as basic contempt) is primarily directed to the person because of his or her “badbeing” (e.g., Bell, 2013). As remarked by Fischer (2011, p. 81), “the attribution of blame is dispositional in the case of contempt, and situational in the case of anger”. When one experiences anger (as well as resentment or indignation) against somebody, one can still believe that “it is not like him/her” to behave in that way. Conversely, the contemner views the target's behavior as a piece of evidence of the latter's ugly dispositions. The target's specific action is viewed as “like him/her”.<

>As pointed out by Fischer (2011, p. 81), “we think we can still influence the ones we are angry at, whereas we have given up this hope in the case of contempt”. Unlike contempt, anger typically implies perceived control over the situation (e.g., Lerner & Tiedens, 2006).<

Sexual Disgust:

Microbes, Mating, and Morality - Joshua M. Tybur et al.:

"we suggest that sexual disgust is an evolved solution to the adaptive problem of avoiding biologically costly mates and sexual behaviors (see also Fessler & Navarrete, 2003).

Over evolutionary history, one’s choice of sexual partners and behaviors carried significant reproductive consequences because individuals varied in qualities impacting offspring survival and reproduction. Whereas certain sexual partners increased the probability of producing multiple, healthy offspring, others potentially jeopardized one’s reproductive success. Given this selection pressure, natural selection likely favored mechanisms that were able to evaluate potential partners along dimensions relevant to reproductive success, and systems that motivated pursuit (e.g., lust) or avoidance (e.g., disgust) accordingly.

Importantly, potential sexual partners can vary in quality along two broad dimensions: intrinsic quality and genetic compatibility (Jennions & Petrie, 2000; Neff & Pitcher, 2005). A mate’s intrinsic quality is reflected in features that influence objective physical attractiveness, regardless of genetic compatibility. Such features include body symmetry, facial attractiveness, and body shape (e.g., Grammer, Fink, Moller, & Thornhill, 2003; Singh, 1993; Thornhill & Gangestad, 1993, 2006) – dimensions that males and females use to assess attractiveness.

Genetic compatibility affects mate suitability in a more relative manner. A potential partner’s genetic similarity to oneself – rather than intrinsically low genetic quality – can reduce reproductive success. Compatibility can be influenced by factors such as major histocompatibility complex similarity (Penn & Potts, 1999) and genetic relatedness. For instance, though one’s close kin (e.g., siblings, parents, offspring) might possess many attributes desirable in a mate (i.e., have high intrinsic mate quality), they are not suitable mating partners because close inbreeding increases the probability of producing less healthy offspring (Bittles & Neel, 1994; Charleswoth & Charlesworth, 1999; Haig, 1999).

Individuals displaying cues for low intrinsic quality or low compatibility are likely to be poor mate choices, and should thus be avoided as sexual partners. Disgust is an emotion wellsuited to perform this function. The disgust that motivates sexual avoidance, however, is distinct from the disgust motivating pathogen avoidance, not only with respect to the sets of information required to assess mate suitability versus parasite presence, but also in regards to the nature of the optimal avoidance behaviors. Whereas pathogen detection relies on cues such as puss and foul odor, the assessment of mate suitability depends on a host of other cues described above – many of which are not relevant to proximal pathogen avoidance (e.g., seeing one’s mother care for a newborn, a cue to siblingship; Lieberman et al., 2007). Further, whereas individuals and objects displaying cues for communicable infection should motivate general avoidance, an individual deemed an unsuitable mating partner should motivate avoidance specifically within the context of mating, leaving open the possibility for other categories of social interactions (e.g., nepotism, friendship, social exchange, or group membership).
In sum, avoiding sexual partners and behaviors potentially jeopardizing one’s reproductive success constitutes a separate adaptive problem from pathogen avoidance and requires different systems for assessing the risks associated with sex. Sexual disgust, we argue, is specifically well suited to perform the function of avoiding reproductively costly sexual behaviors, narrowing the pool of sexual behaviors and partners to those likely to contribute to the production of healthy viable offspring." 

Moral Disgust:

Microbes, Mating, and Morality - Joshua M. Tybur et al.:

"A third domain of disgust pertains to social transgressions. When asked to generate a list of things that disgust them, people often report anti-social behaviors alongside items and acts that we would categorize as pathogen or sexual disgust (Haidt et al., 1994; Nabi, 2002). These social transgressions broadly include non-normative, often anti-social activities such as lying, cheating, and stealing that harm others directly and/or impose diffuse costs on one’s social group. For example, a sample of Australian psychology students who read vignettes about crimes involving drug trafficking, conning, fraud, or theft were more likely to form disgust words in a word-stem completion task than controls (Jones & Fitness, 2008). And the association between such anti-social behaviors and disgust is not exclusive to Western, English speaking cultures. Haidt et al. (1997) report that, when asked to generate a list of disgust elicitors, a Hebrew speaking woman from Israel cited politicians, a Japanese speaking student from Hiroshima cited verbal abuse, and an English speaking student from Chicago cited child abuse. 

However, some have argued that the term disgust is used to describe social transgressions merely for greater rhetorical effect, and actual responses to such acts may not be related to disgust at all (e.g., Bloom, 2004; Nabi, 2002). This hypothesis can be tested by examining whether pathogen-related acts and common socio-moral violations such as lying, cheating, and stealing activate common neural regions associated with the emotion disgust. Recent fMRI investigations show they do (Moll et al., 2005; Schaich Borg, Lieberman, & Kiehl, 2008). For instance, in Schaich Borg et al. (2008), conjunction analyses revealed that pathogen related acts, incestuous acts, and socio-moral violations all activate a network of brain regions previously reported to be associated with disgust (e.g., the globis pallidus, putamen, caudate head, and amygdala). Behavioral studies also indicate disgust is linked with moral judgments (e.g., Wheatley & Haidt, 2005; Marzillier & Davey, 2004) further suggesting that disgust is not just used metaphorically or rhetorically to describe social transgressions, but instead reflects a response toward multiple elicitors including infection, incest, and iniquity. 

From an evolutionary perspective, avoiding interactions with other individuals who imposed costs on oneself or on members of one’s social network would have been beneficial. Within the social arena, other individuals are capable of inflicting costs in a number of ways; in addition to lying, cheating, and stealing, group members can injure, kill, rape, free ride, denigrate, and cuckold. Such behaviors inflict costs directly, and they can disrupt cooperative relationships, social networks, and group cohesion (Cottrell & Neuberg, 2005). Individuals capable of avoiding those whose actions regularly registered as large net costs would have fared better than those who did not discriminate along this dimension. 

In addition to being elicited by different cues than pathogen and sexual disgust, moral disgust motivates a different behavioral strategy. Whereas pathogen disgust motivates proximal avoidance of perceived infection risks, and sexual disgust motivates avoidance of individuals within the specific context of sexual interactions, moral disgust motivates avoidance of social relationships with norm-violating individuals. As recent research indicates, moral disgust might also underlie motivations to punish norm-violating third parties (e.g., Kurzban, DeScioli, & O’Brien, 2007)."

Samstag, 25. Mai 2019

"Menschen, die im gesellschaftlichen Leben wenig Chancen haben zu reüssieren, bauen sich erstaunliche Ersatzpyramiden, um sich an deren Spitze setzen zu können, etwa als >König< der Taubenzüchter oder Bierfilzsammler."

Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt

Dienstag, 21. Mai 2019


Colin G. DeYoung:

Stability - cybernetic function:
Protection of goals, interpretations, and strategies from disruption by impulses.
(negative pole: unstable)

Plasticity - cybernetic function:
Exploration: creation of new goals, interpretations, and strategies.
(negative pole: rigid)

Samstag, 18. Mai 2019

The survival value of conscious experience:

"The survival value of conscious experience lies in the provision of a mechanism to take a second look (one or two hundreds of milliseconds after on-line behavioural responding becomes possible) at something which, in the immediacy of action, has just gone wrong. The wrongness can take the form of an error in a motor program, or simply a departure from the expected state of the environment: something unexpected happens, or something that should have happened does not. The error signal can be specific (this particular subgoal in a motor program has not been reached, or this particular element in the environment has undergone unexpected change); or it can be highly generalised, as in the case of pain[.] Pain, indeed, may reflect a very early stage in the evolution of the error detection mechanism, providing as it does an undifferentiated and universal signal of important (potentially tissue-damaging) error."

Jeffrey Gray - Consciousness

Mittwoch, 15. Mai 2019

Verblüfftheit und Entsetzen:

Norbert Bischof beschreibt sein kybernetisches Motivationsmodell (das "Zürcher Modell"):

"Entropie ist ein informationstheoretischer Begriff und besagt soviel wie Fremdheit, Ungewissheit, Mühe beim Einordnen einer Gegebenheit in bestehendes Wissen oder bei der Vorhersage einer Ereignisfolge."

"Die Entropie eines Menschen, den ich noch nie gesehen habe, der dabei vielleicht noch exotisch gekleidet ist, unverständlich spricht und an unpassender Stelle ohne erkennbaren Grund schrill zu lachen beginnt, ist hoch; hingegen ist das vertraute Abendritual der Mutter, die mich als Kind zu Bett bringt, absolut vorhersagbar und dementsprechend entropiearm."

"Niedrige Entropie wirkt beruhigend spendet Sciherheit und Geborgenheit, kann aber auch langweilig und erstickend sein; hohe weckt Erstaunen und Überraschung; sie kann faszinieren, aber auch befremden und Furcht einflößen."

"Sensibleren Beobachtern ist ... schon längst aufgefallen, dass Furcht keineswegs erlernt zu werden braucht, sondern auch ganz unabhängig von aller Erfahrung allein durch zu hohe Entropie, also durch Fremdheit oder Diskrepanz, ausgelöst werden kann: Das Unvertraute und Unbegreifliche trägt in sich die Potenz, zum >Un-Heimlichen< zu werden."


Gemäß dem Modell rufen besonders informationshaltige Phänomene sowohl appetente als auch aversive Affekte hervor. Die appetenten Affekte lassen sich mit steigendem Erregungsgrad als Interessiertheit, als Erstaunen und als Verblüfftheit bezeichnen. Die aversiven Affekte als Wachsamkeit, Beunruhigung, Alarmiertheit und Entsetzen.

Analog führt das Modell Affekte an, die durch Berührung mit informationsarmen Phänomenen entstehen: Geborgenheit, Umhegtheit, Verschmolzenheit versus Gebundenheit, Vereinnahmtheit, Aufgelöstheit;