This article takes a look at cooperation and social pressure brought upon those that betray social norms, Citizen Enforcers Take Aim
Scientists debate how common these citizen enforcers are, and whether an urge to punish infractions amounts to an overall gain or loss, given that it is costly for both parties. But recent research suggests that in individuals, the fairness instinct is a highly variable psychological impulse, rising and falling in response to what is happening in the world. And there is strong evidence that it hardens in times of crisis and uncertainty, like the current one.
Researchers also found that the current financial crisis has engendered a sense of betrayal by many people and, gee, they’re angry. The anger and desire to make someone accountable, then to make them pay some penalty is understandable, but anger, especially mob anger always has a counter productive quality about it. Especially, as is often the case it finds innocent victims, people guilty, but only at a low level, or the anger just radiates out at seemingly everything and everybody.
Fortunately for the economy, researchers say, a strong countervailing psychological force is also at work: the instinct to forgive, and to cooperate. Punishments are balanced by peace offerings, and in fact researchers have come close to calculating the rough ratio most people employ.
Running thousands of computer variations of the investment game, scientists have found that the strategies that pay off the most are tipped toward cooperation.
That’s the frustrating thing about studying large populations, you only get general trends. What they seem to have found here is a simple majority. It is some consolation. The problem is they didn’t run this test on a real world issue where people have internalized partial facts and untruths who in turn are literally and figuratively yelling their side into the ears of the cooperative leaning lets set down and solve this problem folks. If the tribe writ large has a small group who is engaging in bad behavior, its easy to enforce a consistent set of societal rules and to mediate differences . When the bad guys reach about even number or more then the moderates and insist their wrong is the new right its going to take a little bit more then being nice and requesting that we all just work things out. I’m not implying a shoot out at the corral, only that nice might not get society back on an even keel.
Eight-year-old children have a radically different learning strategy from twelve-year-olds and adults. Eight-year-olds learn primarily from positive feedback (‘Well done!’), whereas negative feedback (‘Got it wrong this time’) scarcely causes any alarm bells to ring. Twelve-year-olds are better able to process negative feedback, and use it to learn from their mistakes. Adults do the same, but more efficiently.
There is little chance of humanity ceasing to automatically call everyone over the age of seventeen an adult. There seems to be children, the chronologically older with a very few adults scattered about. Probably just enough to keep the myth alive that everyone over a certain age automatically becomes an adult. This could be a great way to rise money to pay off the national debt. Completely voluntary. Adulthood would be like getting a drivers license. You’d have to pass a test and pay a fee. Some people might get their adulthood when they’re sixteen, others at 70 or so, or maybe never.