Articles, Blog

Paul Bloom: The Psychology of Everything

September 29, 2019

Hello, my name is Paul Bloom and I’m a Professor
of Psychology at Yale University. And what I want to do today is present a brief
introduction to psychology, which is the science of the human mind. Now, I’m admittedly biased, but I think
psychology is the most interesting of all scientific fields. It’s the most interesting because it’s
about us. It’s about the most important and intimate
aspects of our lives. So psychologists study everything from language,
perception, memory, motivation, dreams, love, hate. We study the development of a child. We study mental illnesses like schizophrenia
and psychopathy, we study morality, we study happiness. Now, psychology is such a huge field that
it breaks up into different subfields. Some psychologists study neuroscience, which
is the study how the brain gives rise to mental life. Others, like me, are Developmental Psychologists. We study what happens to make a baby turn
into a child and a child turn into adults. We study what makes a baby turn into a child
and a child turn into an adult. We ask questions like, how does a baby think
about the world? What do we start off knowing? What do we have to learn? Other psychologists are Social Psychologists. They study human interaction. What’s the nature of prejudice? How do we persuade one another? Some Psychologists are Cognitive Psychologists. What that means is they study the mind as
a computational device looking particularly at capacities like language, perception, memory,
and decision-making. Some Psychologists are Evolutionary Psychologists,
which means they’re particularly interested in biological origin of the human mind. There are Evolutionary Psychologists. Evolutionary Psychologists are particularly
interested in the evolutionary origin of our psychologies. So they study the mind with an eye towards
how it has evolved. What adaptive problems it’s been constructed
to solve. Finally, there’s clinical psychology. For many people, this is what psychology means. Many people associate psychology with clinical
psychology, and in fact, it’s a very important aspect of psychology. Clinical psychologists are interested in the
diagnosis that the causes and the treatment of mental disorders, disorders like schizophrenia,
depression and anxiety disorders. It would be impossible for me to provide a
full spectrum introduction to all of these sub fields of psychology in the time I have. So what I’m going to do instead is I’m
going to focus on three case studies. I’m gong to focus on compassion, racism,
and sex. I’ve chosen these case studies for two reasons. First, each of them is particularly interesting
in its own light. These are questions we’re interested in
as people, as scientists, but also in our every day lives. And I want to try to persuade you that psychologists
have some interesting things to say about them. Second, together they illustrate the range
of approaches that psychologists use. The sort of theories that we construct, the
sorts of methods we use when approaching a domain. I want to try to give you a feeling for what
psychology looks like when we actually carry it out. The first case study is compassion. Compassion… by what I mean by compassion
is concern for other people. This is particularly interesting to me. This is my own research program and my own
laboratory at Yale; we look at the emergence of morality in babies and young children. And we particularly focus on the emergence
of compassion. At what point in development do babies care
about others? At what point in development does feelings
of empathy and sympathy, sometimes anger, guilt, other moral emotions. How do they arise? To what extent are they built in? To what extent do they have to be learned? As a starting point, I have here a picture
of a baby and inside the baby’s head is the baby’s brain. The baby’s brain is an extraordinary computing
machine. The baby’s brain is composed of neurons. Now neurons are basic cells that process and
transmit information. They receive input from other neurons and
then if the sum of the input is sufficiently high, they fire. The brain does its work through collections
of neurons, through what you would call neuro networks on neuro circuits. Now looked at in that way, the baby’s brain
is extraordinarily impressive. It contains roughly 100 billion neurons. Since all of the thinking is done through
connections between the neurons, what happens as the baby grows if more and more connections
are made. And by one estimate, there’s about 1.8 million
connections between neurons that are created per second. To give you a feeling of the complexity of
the baby’s brain, I use an analogy from Jeff Hawkins. Imagine a football stadium. Fill it up with cooked spaghetti, then shrink
it to the size of a soccer ball. Then make it much, much, much denser. And then you’ll have some understanding
of how much is going on inside a brain, inside even a baby’s brain. Now, that much we know for sure, but where
the real debate goes on concerns the nature of that computational structure. The nature of what’s going on with all of
those neuro networks and neuro circuits. There’s one of view that is held by many
philosophers and many psychologists that the brain starts off as a blank slate, what the
philosopher, John Locke, called “a Tabula Rasa.” And what goes on in development, the point
of all those connections per second is learning, is sucking up information from the environment. The baby starts off knowing nothing and turns
into an adult, by virtue of absorbing information at a tremendously powerful rate. That’s one view. Many philosophers and many psychologists,
including me and my colleagues are more enamored of another view. We don’t deny that learning takes place,
but we would argue that in addition to that, there is an extraordinary early understanding,
early specialization. The brain could better be understood in terms
of what the psychologists, Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, described as a Swiss Army knife,
has many different parts. And each part is specialized for a different
function. Now, so much of the action in psychology has
been a running debate over which view is right. So for instance, in the domain of language,
many people have argued that there’s nothing special with the language. We come to know, we come to use language because
we’re just very powerful learners. Other people, most notably the linguists,
Noam Chomsky, and people have followed from his work; have argued that there is a specialized
mechanism for language; language organ or language module or language instinct. Learning needs to be done, but it’s done
through this specialized system. Now, I’m not going to talk about language
today, but there’s another debate, which I am going to talk about. And this concerns morality, both moral judgments
of right and wrong, but also moral feelings including compassion. Many people would argue that in that regard,
the baby starts off with nothing. Many people would agree with the classic Onion
headline, a satirical newspaper, which says: “New study reveals most children unrepentant
sociopaths.” The idea is that children start off immoral,
monsters or if not monsters, at least they know not from good and evil. This is not the view which I think is supported
by the data. I think there is now more and more data in
support of a different view of compassion. One that was nicely summarized by Thomas Jefferson. So Thomas Jefferson wrote: “The moral sense
or conscious is as much a part of man as his leg or arm. It is given to all human beings in stronger
or weaker degree as **** of members has given them in a greater or lesser degree.” This claim, the idea that we grow morality,
morality is part of our nature, was supported by Thomas Jefferson’s contemporary, Adam
Smith, in Europe at the same time. Sorry… was supported by Thomas Jefferson’s
contemporary, Adam Smith. And Adam gives an example of this. He points out that it is a part of our nature
to feel pain at the pain of others. As he writes: “When we see a stroke aimed
and just ready to fall upon the leg or arm of another person, we naturally shrink and
draw back our own leg or arm. And when it does fall, we feel it in some
measure and are hurt by it as well as the sufferer.” And here is an illustration of this act of
empathy taking place. Now we know this is true for children. In fact, we know this is true for babies. One way to make a baby cry is to expose it
to cries of other babies. There’s sort of contagiousness to the crying. It’s not just crying. We also know that if a baby sees another human
in silent pain, it will distress the baby. It seems part of our very nature is to suffer
at the suffering of others. We know that young babies, as they become
capable of moving voluntarily will share. They will share food, for instance, with their
siblings and with kids that are around. They will sooth. If they see somebody else in pain, even the
youngest of toddlers will try to reach out and pat the person. Maybe hand over a toy. There’s some lovely studies finding that
slightly older children are able to help others when they see somebody who is unable to fulfill
a goal, they’ll seek out to come to their aid. So one elegant demonstration of this comes
from a recent set of experiments by the psychologist, Felix Warneken and Michael Tomasello, where
they take a toddler, put him or her in a situation where an adult is in some sort of mild distress
and see if the toddler will voluntarily help, even without any prompting. And they find that toddlers typically do. There seems to be some sort of impulse in
us that’s altruistic, that’s kind, that’s compassionate. Now, in all of these cases; however, the kindness
that we see seems to apply to people who are close to us, who are either physically in
our proximity or who are our siblings or our parents or our friends. So the question arises, how broad does this
compassion extend? Now some people would argue that we start
off with a very broad compassion, we would extend it to all individuals, to all people. But there’s evidence support a somewhat
different view, which is, there’s a moral instinct in us, there’s a moral sense in
us, but it’s initially very narrow. It’s only created by those close to us. And our feelings towards others are in fact,
not positive at all, they aren’t compassionate at all. In fact, our natural default feelings towards
a stranger, far from being compassionate, is actually some sort of mixture of fear and
hatred. We see this in all sorts of different ways. So in young children, we see it in what’s
called, “stranger anxiety.” At around nine months of age, babies start
becoming panicked at the presence of strangers. They fear strangers. And developmental psychologists have helpfully
called it “stranger anxiety” and it seems to capture a universal part of development
where the other is thought of as dangerous. This sort of stranger anxiety fades in some
cultures. If you were to find yourself in an airport
in a new city, you’re not likely to have a panic attack because you’re surrounded
by people you don’t know, but in small scale human societies, it might never go away. In a situation when an individual is raised
with a few hundred other individuals around them, that is their circle of compassion. And their response to others is not positive. This is an observation that’s been made
by many anthropologists who study small scale societies. So for instance, anthropologist, Jared Diamond,
talking about small scale societies in **** New Guinea writes, “To venture out of one’s
territory to meet other humans, even if they lived only a few miles away, was equivalent
to suicide. Many years before, Margaret Meade was talking
about the lifestyles of what were called at the time, “primitive cultures.” And she is famously a supporter of these lifestyles. She argues that the Western world would be
much better if we were to adopt the customs and thoughts and ideas, particularly in regard
to sexuality of these other societies. But she was very honest and very blunt about
how members of these societies treat strangers. She writes: “Most primitive tribes feel
that if you run across one of those sub humans from a rival group in the forest, the most
appropriate thing to do is bludgeon them to death.” I’ve talked about fear and hatred, but there’s
a third sort of response that we often give to strangers. This is disgust. Disgust is what Paul Rozin described as the
“body/soul emotion,” is a human universal. Humans everywhere are disgusted by certain
things. We are disgusted by feces, urine, blood, vomit,
rotten flesh, and most meat. Disgust has a characteristic facial response
and its easy part of our natures. Now, if it was limited to food and cockroaches
and that sort of thing, it wouldn’t have anything to do with my talk on compassion. But what’s most interesting is that we’re
often disgusted by other people. But what’s most interesting is that we are
often disgusted by other people. Particularly, we’re often disgusted by strange
people. And this is an observation that Charles Darwin,
who is a wonderful observer of human nature, made. Darwin wrote: “In Tierra del Fuego, a native
touched with his fingers some cold preserved meat and plainly showed disgust at the softness. Whilst I felt utter disgust of my food being
touched by a naked savage, thought his hands did not appear dirty.” We have laboratory research that explores
the relationship between feelings of disgust and feelings towards out groups. So we know for instance that people differ
in how easily disgusted they are. You do a survey of people. You ask them questions like, how badly would
this bother you. So one of the questions might be, you have
to pick up a dead cat with your hands. And there’s some people who say, “uh,
whatever.” Some people, “Oh my god! I’d rather die” or, you sit on a city
bus seat and it’s warm from the last person who was on it. And some people crack up, well why would that
bother me? Other people say, “That’s very disturbing.” People differ in how sensitive they are to
disgust. It turns out that where you stand with regard
to disgust correlates with your feelings about out groups. It correlates with your feelings about immigrants;
it correlates with your feelings about sexual minorities, in particular male homosexuals. The more easily disgusted you are, the more
aversion you find to these others. We also know this experimentally. We know that by making people be disgusted,
we can make them meaner. I’ll give you an example of this. This is from a study I was involved with,
with David Pizarro at Cornell University as the lead investigator. What we did was we brought people into the
lab… into a lab at Cornell. And we asked him all sorts of questions regarding
their feelings towards different groups and different policies. What do you think of African-Americans? What do you think of gay men? What do you think of welfare? What do you think of immigration? And so on and so forth. Half the people just filled it out and went
home. The other half of the subjects went into the
room, got the same survey. But the difference was, before they entered
the room, we sprayed the room with a fart spray. That’s the first experiment I’ve ever
been involved with that used a fart spray. People would be kind of grossed out. And it would make them meaner. Not towards everything, but it would make
them particularly meaner towards out groups, like male homosexuals. And this supports the idea that there’s
a connection in our minds between a visceral emotion of disgust and our feelings towards
others. So what I’ve argued is, we do have a natural
compassion, but it’s limited. It does not naturally extend to strangers. It does not naturally extend to others. For them our reaction might be hatred, fear,
and disgust. But that raises a puzzle because you and me
and everyone else we know can extend our compassion to strangers, to put it in the language that
the philosopher Peter Singer has used, “Our moral circle has expanded.” It might be that our ancestors, it might be
the people in small scale societies only cared about their family and friends, but we have
a broader circle of compassion. We think about we care about people in other
countries. We care about people from other races. We care about people we’ve never seen before
and we never will see. When some sort of disaster strikes like a
tsunami or a hurricane or earthquake, many of us give our resources, even our blood,
to help out people we’ve never met before. And that poses a neat psychological puzzle. What forces take our narrow moral circle,
our narrow scope of compassion and make it bigger and expand it to care for these others? Now I think that there are a lot of different
answers to that question. Robert Wright, for instance, has argued that
one force in expanding the moral circle has been human interconnections in commerce, in
international travel and so on. The more people you know, the more people
you have contact with, the more we are interconnected in the world, the more you might care about
them in a sort of self-interested altruism where you care about them because they’re
fates are intertwined with yours. And I think that there’s a lot of value
in that insight. But I want to focus on a different, maybe
more psychological mechanism. A mechanism that happens to individuals as
they get older, a part of development, which is, their sympathies expand because of a certain
sort of persuasion. I want to suggest that there is psychological
evidence that supports the idea that we can expand our compassion, our moral circle to
far away strangers by being made to think of them as if they are individual people. In particular, we think of them as if they’re
our friends and family. We think of them as if they are right in front
of us. Now, the importance of thinking about concrete
individuals when it comes to kindness is not an idea psychologists were forced to come
out with, it’s very well-known, thought of by monsters and by saints. Joseph Stalin famously said, “A single death
is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.” And Mother Theresa presented a similar sentiment
when she said, “If I look at the mass, I will never act. If I look at the one, I will.” Psychologists like Paul Slovic has explored
this in the lab. So for instance, they would do a study where
they would have an appeal for a charity. And in fact, they would take the money they
got and send it to the charity. And they would, for one group of subjects,
describe the problem in terms of statistics, in terms of numbers, in terms of the millions
of people suffering, a sort of suffering a proportion of the population who is in desperate
need. And they found that people would give say,
roughly a dollar. For the other group, they didn’t bother
with statistics at all. They didn’t bother trying to impress them
with the huge number of people suffering. Rather, they told them a story. They told them a story about a single individual. They had a picture of that individual, they
gave her a name. And when you do that, you find that people
are far more generous. It’s a far more powerful effect on their
compassion. They will give, roughly, twice as much. Now, this is not a secret. It is not something only psychologists know. Charities, when they try to appeal for people’s
help, won’t throw numbers at you. They typically won’t because they know that
doesn’t work. The way to extend people’s compassion, the
way to motivate altruistic action is to appeal to some very natural, very hardwired systems
within us that respond to individual people. And so charities will draw your attention,
will appeal to you by focusing on the individual. I know this from a personal story. When I was a graduate student, I was having
an argument with a philosopher friend of mine. And I was telling him, I was very persuaded
by some stuff I read that rich Westerners don’t give anywhere near enough money to
the starving millions around the world. And I was giving him such a hard time about
that. And at some point, totally sick of me, he
says, “How much do you give to charity?” And I’m thinking, well, I’m making a theoretical
point here. **** I don’t give anything to charity. So I figured, I felt so bad about this, I
contacted one of the… a major charity, actually Plan U.S.A. and asked them for information
about how to give to them. And they sent me a packet. And I remember opening up the packet and I
remember expecting to see graphs and numbers and all sorts of information. And they were so much smarter than that ‘cause
I opened up the package and what they had sent me was a child. They had a photograph of the child, they had
a letter he wrote, and they said to me, “Look, we know that you’re not promising to give
to us, you just want information, but if you were to give, it would go to that individual. That would be the life you would save.” It worked for me; I think it’s a tremendously
persuasive way for a charity to work. And I think more generally, as part of the
story for how our compassion can get bigger and bigger. This really matters. People talk about moral progress. People like Peter Singer, Robert Wright, Steven
Pinker, have argued that through our history, the circle of… our moral circles have been
expanding. It’s not just through individuals as they
get older; rather societies have broader and broader moral circles. We now live in a world where people believe
we have moral obligations to other races, other nationalities that sexism and racism
are immoral. Some of us believe we have obligations toward
non-human animals. And this has been happening because of stories,
because of persuasion and because people come to moral insights and use the power of stories
to convey them. Martha Nussbaum gives a historical example
with regard to Greek tragedies. She writes… I have to go **** this. “Although all of the future citizens who
saw ancient tragedies were male, they were asked to have empathy with the suffering of
many whose lot could never be theirs, such as Trojans and Persians and Africans, such
as wives and daughters and mothers.” And if you were to doubt the importance of
this, consider the end of slavery in the United States. There are a lot of different factors that
led to the end of slavery, but many historians would argue that one of the forces that led
many white Americans to believe slavery was wrong was persuasion, in particular, it was
the work of the author Harriett Beecher Stowe in her book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. In particular, it was the work of Harriet
Beecher Stowe in her book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. In this book, she didn’t make logical arguments;
she didn’t make theological points or philosophical proposals. Rather, she got her readers to extend their
sympathies. And this had a profound effect. It had a profound effect persuading them that
slavery was wrong and changing the fate of the world. The second case study I want to talk about
is racism. And I want to begin by making a connection
to a branch of cognitive psychology. In particular the brand of cognitive psychology
that deals with how we make sense of the world. How we naturally form categories of the things
we see and the things we interact with. Cognitive psychologists have pointed out that
we… that in order to survive in the world, we have to make generalizations. You probably have never seen those three pictures
I have up here, but you immediately know that one is a dog and one is an apple and one is
a chair. You will also have intuitions about these
things… you’ll make generalizations. You’ll believe the dog can bark, the apple
is something you can eat, a chair is something you can sit on. Now, you probably also realize that there
are exceptions to this. Some dogs are silent, some apples are poisonous,
some chairs will collapse if you sit on them, but still if you couldn’t make those generalizations,
if you didn’t recognize that some properties tend to co-occur with some objects, you would
be helpless in the world. You wouldn’t know what to eat, you wouldn’t
know how anything would react; you wouldn’t survive. Part of being a successful human, in fact,
part of being any successful animal is being able to learn. And a good part of what learning is is to
make statistical generalizations on the basis of limited experience. You eat a thousand apples, they all taste
pretty good, you conclude, I can eat apples, apples taste good. And when you’re hungry, you reach for the
apple. This is adaptive, it is rational, it is reasonable. But now there’s a twist. The twist is that some of the categories that
we form are categories of people. We form categories on the basis of… we form
categories on the basis of sex, of age, of race, profession, religion, sexual orientation,
nationality, and where the person lives. When you form a category of a person, we have
a specific word for that, we often call it a stereotype. Now, stereotype may sound like a bad word,
but there’s nothing bad about it. For one thing, stereotypes are often accurate. Lee Judson finds that when you ask people
about their stereotypes of different groups and political groups and ethnicities and genders,
people get it pretty much right. That we’re reasonably good statistical learners,
and so we tend to be reasonably accurate. Also, stereotypes are often positive, particularly
of groups that we ourselves belong to. Some of the statistical generalizations may
be correct and may be positive as some groups have reputations for being smart, for being
loyal, for being brave, for all sorts of things that are not at all negative. And so there’s nothing inherently wrong
about stereotypes. But there are problems with stereotypes. For one thing, they’re reliable insofar
as they’re based on a sample, an unbiased sample, of the population. But a lot of the information we get about
human groups is through biased sources like how they’re represented in the media. And if these sources don’t give you an accurate
rendition, you’re a stereotype won’t be accurate. For example, many Italian-Americans were upset
at the depiction of Italian-Americans in a television show, “The Sopranos.” This is because, if you are in an area where
the only Italian-Americans you meet are those you see on TV and those you see on “The
Sopranos,” you’re going to think they’re all mobsters. Many Jews historically have been troubled
by Shakespeare’s depiction of Shylock. If the only Jew you know is Shakespeare’s
Shylock, again, it’s going to be a very bad impression. And so one problem with stereotypes is while
we have accurate statistical mechanisms for taking in information and drawing conclusions
from them, often our information isn’t reliable and often this can lead to the formation of
stereotypes that aren’t right. A second problem is that stereotypes regardless
of whether or not they’re accurate can have a negative effect on the people that they
apply to. And this is what the psychologist, Claude
Steele, described as stereotype threat. So he has a vivid example of this. Here’s how to make African-Americans do
worse on a math test. You have the test and you put on the test
that they have to identify their race. The very act of acknowledging that their African-American
when given a test ignites in them thoughts of their own stereotype, which isn’t positive,
which is negative regarding academics and that makes them do worse. Want to know how to make a woman do worse
on a math test? Same thing, get her to write down her sex. One recent study found a sort of clever twist
on this. The study involved testing Asian-American
women. Turns out, when Asian-American women are given
a test and they’re asked to mark down their race, they do better than they would otherwise
do. They’re reminded of the stereotype, but
as a positive stereotype and it bumps them up. You ask them, on the other hand, to mark down
their sex, they do worse because they’re women and that’s a negative stereotype towards
women. That’s an example of how stereotypes have
a potentially damaging effect on people. A third problem with stereotypes is, in some
way, our stereotypes of human groups are like our categories of dogs and apples and chairs. But there’s a way in which they aren’t. We’re not dogs and apples and chairs. But we are members of human groups. And by definition, any category of human individuals
is something you either belong to or you don’t. It’s either what psychologists call an in
group or an out group. And this fact of how you connect with the
category has an effect on how you think of the category. There’s a lot of evidence suggesting that
when you’re a member of the category, you boost it. You give it higher qualities. People in your group are smarter or nicer,
they’re more deserving and so on. On the other hand, if it’s an out group,
if it’s another category, particularly if it’s a category that you’re in some way
competing against, the category gets denigrated. We see some vivid historical example of this. In one study in 1942, Americans were asked
to describe the top two features of Russians. And they described them as brave and hard-working. In 1948, they were asked the same question. They described them as cruel and conceited. The Russians didn’t change, what changed
was our relationship to them over the intervening years; they went from being part of a group
that we were a part of to the out group. More generally, we seem to react in a certain
way to out groups where we seem to think of them in general as being less rich, less complicated
than we are. Several studies find that we are less likely
to attribute to an out group complicated emotions. If the out group is somebody we don’t like,
that we’re afraid of, we’ll often view them as savages. If the out group is somebody we kind of like,
but we aren’t afraid of, we don’t see them as adversaries, we might view them a
children. None of this is accurate and none of this
is moral. And that’s a third problem with stereotypes. The final problem with stereotypes is a moral
one. Even if stereotypes are perfectly accurate,
even if they’re accurate summaries of the statistics of a group, there are many cases
where we believe that it’s morally wrong to judge somebody based on their group membership. We should judge them as individuals. For all of these reasons, and maybe mostly
for the last one, there’s an interesting tension in how we think about other groups. On the one hand, we want to be consciously
egalitarian, consciously non-racist, consciously thinking of individuals as individuals and
not letting stereotypes, particularly ugly stereotypes affect our judgments. And there’s some evidence that we succeed
at this. You look at the statistics, for instance,
what you see in this graph, is there are a portion of Americans who say they would vote
for a qualified African-American to be President. And what you could see is, at a certain point
by the mid-nineties, just about everybody says, that they would. And the election of Barrack Obama shows that
this wasn’t just people lying when asked questions, it really reflects an honest to
god consciously egalitarian viewpoint. On the other hand, we also have an unconscious
system. And an unconscious system is more statistics
driven, more biased and less sensitive to moral concerns. So you get a tension between the conscious
egalitarian system and the unconscious system, which is often driven by bias. So we think the right thing to do is to judge
individuals, not on the basis of the groups that they belong to, but as individuals, as
individuals in their own right. And is this something that we consciously
endorse? Most people today or many people today in
our culture are consciously egalitarian. We want to avoid stereotypes, particularly
ugly pernicious stereotypes. We want to judge people based on their own
traits, not the groups that they belong to and this shows up when you ask people. So for instance, what you see in this graph
is a portion of Americans who say they would vote for a qualified African-American to be
President. And what you see is, by the mid-90’s is
just about everybody. An election of a Barrack Obama as President
suggests that this really does capture an honestly egalitarian perspective on the part
of people. They’re not just lying when asked questions. Or consider these data; this is the proportion
of Americans, white Americans who would endorse some ugly stereotypes about blacks. And what you can see is, by the year 2000,
they are approaching zero. And so, this paints a picture of the conscious
mind as non-prejudice, as egalitarian. But what’s interesting, and perhaps troubling,
is that there’s more to our minds than the conscious mind. We also have an unconscious system that also
thinks in terms of categories, that also thinks in terms of stereotypes. This conscious, this unconscious system is
data-driven, is however prone to tremendous bias and it is a lot less sensitive to our
moral concerns than the conscious system. So how do we know this sort of unconscious
system exists? Here we draw upon some very clever studies
by social psychologists. So for instance, in one study, subjects will
be in front of a computer screen and they’d be doing some unrelated task and what they
wouldn’t know is that faster than they could consciously process, faces were being flashed
on the screen. These were either white male faces or black
male faces. Again, they had no conscious awareness that
they were seeing these faces. Then they were asked to complete words. So they might a word, H-O-S, and have to complete
it. It turns out if they’re seeing white faces;
these subjects who were consciously unbiased would tend to fill it out with a word like
“hospital.” If they were seeing black faces, they would
tend to fill it out with a word like, “hostile.” When they were seeing white faces, they would
tend to complete it as a word like “hospital.” When they were seeing black faces, they would
tend to complete it as a word like “hostile.” They would tend to associate these black faces
at an unconscious level with malevolent intent; with bad things. One striking example of unconscious bias involves
being shown these two faces. And asked who’s more American? Well, at some level, this is a ridiculous
question. People would laugh when they hear it. Barrack Obama’s more American because he’s
like American. Tony Blair is British. But unconsciously, you can ask the same question,
you could see how quickly it takes to associate these faces with words like, “American”
or “not American.” And it turns out, based on this sort of implicate
unconscious test, people are often more willing and quicker to associate the face of Tony
Blair as American than the face of Barrack Obama, of course, because Tony Blair has a
white face and Barrack Obama has a dark face. Now, one response to these sorts of studies,
one perfectly legitimate response I think is say, who cares. Consciously, we’re egalitarian, consciously
we’re non-prejudice, we have these weird, quirky unconscious biases that drive our behavior
when pressing buttons and responding very fast. What difference does it make? But there’s evidence it does make a difference. There’s evidence that these unconscious
biases play a role in things that matter very much in the real world. So consider some studies by Jack Dovidio and
his colleagues. They first did this study in 1989, and what
it involved is, you give people resumes of candidates and these resumes have pictures. And what the subjects and experiment don’t
know is they were always given the same resume, but half of them got it with a white person,
half of them a black person. And then they were asked, how strongly would
you recommend this person for a job? Now, if these candidates had strong qualifications,
they both would be recommended. In fact, perhaps the black is a bit more likely
to be recommended than the white one. But when they had moderate qualifications,
when it’s a judgment call, the white candidate was statistically more like to be recommended
for a job than the black candidate. Not because these people said, I’m a racist,
I’m going to do it this way, but rather they are swayed by this factor that they might
not have been conscious of. As I said, this was done in 1989. But they did the same study in 1999 and got
the same result. And they did the same study in 2005, and got
the same result. Here’s a second sort of study suggesting
these racial attitudes really matter. It was a shooting simulation where subjects
are given a gun and they have to decide when to shoot when they see somebody reaching for
something. Half the time they’re seeing a black person,
half the time they’re seeing a white person. Sometimes a person has a gun in their hand,
sometimes a wallet or their keys. Turns out, these subjects again, non-racist,
non-biased, at least consciously, were quicker to shoot the black person than the white person. And there’s some evidence using law enforcement
officers that they’re prone to the same bias. Not… again, not because they’re consciously
racist, but because a split second decision exploits parts of the mind that are unconscious,
that are not under your volition or control. The final example I’ll give you for why
these unconscious racial biases might really matter is a study by Jennifer Eberhart and
her colleagues. They find that once you factor all other considerations,
and this is for death penalty cases, considerations like prior records of crimes, the brutality
of the crime and so on, you are far more likely to be executed if you look like the man on
the right than the man on the left. The darker your skin, the more likely a jury
is to recommend that you get the death penalty. And this is a case where one’s unconscious
biases obviously make a big difference. So, we’re at war with ourselves. We have on the one hand these conscious beliefs
about how we think we should think, how we think we should behave. On the other hand, we have this unconscious
system that makes all these sorts of decisions and affects us in ways that we might not know
about, we might not be aware of. The good news is we’re also smart. And part of being smart means that we can
structure our world so that we can make it that unconscious biases matter less. If we want them to matter less, we can organize
things so that they do matter less. One example of this, to give you an example
of this, I’ll turn not to race, but to gender. Not too long ago, women were deeply underrepresented
in symphony orchestras. And the reason for this, it was argued is
because they don’t play as well. They simply, in a fair and biased fashion
they’d been judged and they just don’t sound as good. But in part, based on these sorts of discoveries,
symphony orchestras began to hold blind auditions. What they would do is they would have the
person play behind a screen so that the person listen… so that the judges won’t know
if they are listening to a man or to a woman. Once this was put into place, the representation
of women in symphony orchestras shot up. It wasn’t that originally these were just
sexist, to say, I don’t like women; I’m going to count against them. Rather, these were perhaps good, non-sexist
people, who couldn’t help hearing the woman differently from the man. And so when you adjust environment, it allows
their… them to apply a fair standard, a sort of standard that they would want to apply. And I like this example because it shows how
first, social psychology and psychology in general can shape policy in a good way. But second, it shows how we’re smart enough
to manipulate the world so that our better selves get to make the decisions. So that if we think of parts of ourselves
as irrational or biased or irresponsible, we can orchestrate things, so to speak, so
that our better selves win out. The third case study I want to talk about
is sex. And when it comes to sex, considerations of
evolution become incredibly relevant. I think the question of how we evolve and
the question of how our minds are now shaped in response to evolution pressure is something
that pertains to all of psychology. It pertains to, certainly, for how we think
about human groups, certainly for compassion and morality, and all sorts of other topics
I haven’t discussed, like perception and language and memory. But it’s screamingly obvious in the domain
of sex. In fact, as soon as you start thinking about
our bodies and our brains, you’re faced with a puzzle. And it’s the sort of a puzzle that can only
be resolved in terms of evolution. And here’s what the puzzle is. What’s the difference between males and
females? Well, there’s a general answer to this that
doesn’t pertain to any particular species that goes across every creature on earth. The males are the ones with the small sex
cells. To be a male is to have a sperm, which contains
genetic material, and that’s basically it. The females have the large sex cells. The female sex cell, the egg, also contains
genetic material but it contains a cover, it contains food, it contains all the apparatus
needed to get an organism growing. So here’s the puzzle. You look around most animals, not all animals,
but most animals. And the male is bigger and more aggressive. So why would the animal with the smaller sex
cell tend to grow up to be the bigger animal. And this has been a mystery for a very long
time until an evolutionary biologist named Robert Trivers, solved it. And he solved it by making reference to the
idea of parental investment. For Trivers… Trivers defines parental investment as any
investment by the parent in an individual offspring that increases the offspring’s
chances of surviving at the cost of the parent’s ability to invest in other offspring. So given that the organism typically, though
not always, grows inside the female, this leads to a difference in parental investment. A male can ejaculate and then some short periods
of time ejaculate again and again and again, each time, theory at least producing a new
offspring. For a female, once she’s pregnant, that’s
it. That’s it for months, is it for years. She can’t have another child while she’s
pregnant. Often when she’s breastfeeding, lactating,
she can’t have another child. So what this means in practical terms is that
children are more valuable for females than for males in the sense of children are…
in the sense that females can have fewer children than males. What this means is, typically males have less
of a parental investment than females. What follows from this, from an economic point
of view, is that males compete with one another for access to females. Both males and females want offspring, that’s
the genetic imperative, but males can be more into number while females can be more into
quality. This leads to competition between males. And the competition is of two different sorts. There’s competition male against male, which
leads to the evolution of aggressive trades. It even leads to the evolution of some species
with special organs, like the giant horns of some animals that exist for males and not
females because they’ve evolved according to this reproductive logic based on the lower
parental investment. It also leads males to evolve certain traits
to attract the attention of females. Females are the scarce resource here. And so males compete with one another to attract
females. The most striking biological example of this
is the elaborate, glorious plumage of the peacock. There’s a carton I enjoy here because the
peahens are saying to the peacock, “Cut the crap and show us your willy.” Which I like because it sounds sort of British,
but I also like because it nicely captures the evolutionary logic behind what all of
this is for. So that’s the sort of evolutionary biology
101 when it comes to sex. What does this have to do with humans? Well, we see the same sort of differences,
the same sort of psychological consequences of this asymmetry in parental investment in
human males and human females. Human males are larger than human females. Not every human male is larger than every
human female, but on an average, human males are quite a bit larger. Or, many humans, for instance, human males
are over six feet tall. There are very few human females over six
feet tall. Human males are far more violent than human
females. A lot of this has to do with testosterone,
but in just about every way you measure physical violence; assault, homicide, rape, and so
on, males are by far the major perpetrators. Finally, you get to relative choosiness. Females are, as a rule, more choosy when it
comes to short-term sexual partners than males. And this shows up in a couple of ways, it
shows up in prostitution. So, prostitution is a huge industry in the
world. And with very few exceptions, prostitutes
cater to male customers. Female prostitutes cater to male customers
and male prostitutes cater to gay male customers. Then there’s pornography. Now, pornography may appeal to different sexes,
some people have argued that romance novels are sort of the equivalent to pornography
for women. But what appeals to men is often sort of images
of sexually receptive women. This isn’t the same as sort of a one-night
stand, but is a psychologically vicarious one-night stand, where this image is enough
to lead to arousal. The only thing interesting I have to say about
this is a recent study that suggests this is not exclusively a human vice. So recent study involved showing pornography
to Rhesus Macaques, these are a type of monkey. What they did was… the question was, would
these monkeys pay to see porn? And so you didn’t have a financial system
for these monkeys, so they set up a nice apparatus where the monkey… at a certain point, the
monkey had a choice, he could either stare at a picture or turn and sip sweet orange
juice; monkeys love orange juice. So the question is, what sort of pictures
would they pay, would they give up on this orange juice in order to see? And there were two sorts of pictures that
they would pay to see. They would pay to see the behinds of female
Rhesus monkeys and they would pay to see the faces of high status male Rhesus monkeys. Sort of like the equivalent of a Playboy Magazine
and People Magazine, suggesting that two of the major human vices, pornography and celebrity
worship are in fact not uniquely human. Now, you can go on about the differences between
males and females in terms of sexual interest and sexual hues and so on, but I want to focus
for the rest of this case study on certain things we have in common, which I think are
quite interesting. And one thing that we have in common is an
attraction to what we would call beauty. Certain things are beautiful, certain things
appeal to us universally. Some studies find in the first tenth of a
second after looking at a face, you have computed how beautiful it is. Your judgment as to how beautiful it is. Now, one immediate response is, well beauty
is in the eye of the beholder. We different tremendously in what we find
beautiful. Cultures differ tremendously, different times,
different places in what counts as beautiful, what counts as sexually attractive. And that is entirely true; there are interesting
and powerful differences. But at the same time, there are also universals. There are certain things that people everywhere
find attractive. And we can use evolutionary theory to makes
sense of the sort of things people find as beautiful. So to some extent, beauty equates to youth. Hues like round eyes, full lips, smooth tight
skin. Hues like round eyes, full lips, tight skin
are considered beautiful most likely because they’re **** that the person is young, is
able to have kids, has many years ahead of them and so on. We are drawn to features like absence of deformities,
clear eyes, unblemished skin, intact teeth, and average faces. And you might think, average faces? That’s strange thing to put in beautiful,
as a category of beautiful. But it turns out average faces actually look
really good. And there’s different hues as to why that’s
so, but one plausible explanation is, if you’re face differs from everybody else’s face;
it’s most likely due to something which isn’t good. There’s more bad things that can happen
to your face than good things. And so something that deviates from the average
is often something which isn’t normally viewed as attractive. So what an average face does is it gets rid
of all of the things that are unusual and people tend to find it quite attractive. Now, an immediate response to all of this,
to say well, typically psychologists get blamed for studying… do all their research based
on university freshman, in fact, freshmen taking intro psych courses. How general is this? How much does it apply? But there’s a lot of evidence that these
attractiveness features are human universals, there are studies that are done across cultures. And most interesting to me at least, is studies
done with babies. So it turns out, it’s not just you and me
that can tell one face from another, it’s actually babies. Now one accusation that always comes up in
these situations is, who did you get this data from? And in fact, psychologists are often guilty
of collecting data from 24 university freshmen and then saying that these conclusions apply
to all of humanity, but not in this case. In this case, studies of human attractiveness
have been done cross-culturally and you get pretty much the same findings wherever you
go. Again, there’s some interesting differences,
but these universals seem to always be attractive. The work that’s most exciting to me along
these lines is actually done with babies. So adults can rank faces as attractive or
unattractive, but you can also see what babies think about faces. And it turns out, using babies looking time
as a measure for what they like to see. So how long will they look at a face? It turns out that babies preference for attractive
faces match pretty well adults preferences for attractive faces. So for instance, in some wonderful work by
Languar[ph] and her colleagues, she would show different degrees of averageness across
faces, composites of more and more people. And when a face was very average, a composite
of as many people as she can get, babies prefer to look at it over less average faces. Matching how adults judge faces and suggesting
that some gut feeling about what makes an attractive face or an unattractive face isn’t
just due to culture, it’s not just due to learning, but it’s part of our hardwiring. It’s part of an evolved system, part perhaps
of the sort of Swiss Army knife we start off with for dealing with people and making judgments
as we go through the world. So average faces are attractive. You can see this in these faces are not the
faces of real people, these faces are computer composites of multiple people and they are
not bad looking, but you can get better than average for both males and females. For females, many people will judge a face
better than average if it’s feminized. If you take the features that define a face
as female and you exaggerate them, as in the picture on the right, it tends to look a little
bit better than your average female face. For men, you could do the same thing. And this is the wonderful work of Victor Johnston,
where he found that you could take faces and take your average male face and turn it into
testosterone man, which is the face that you’re looking at on the left. It turns out that women’s responses to testosterone
man differ according to whether or not they’re ovulating. So if a woman is ovulating, she is more likely
to find this manliest of man face attractive, while if not, she tends to go back to just
find average man more attractive. It does suggest that our sexual psychologies
connect with our reproductive preferences in all sorts of interesting ways. Now, I’ve talked so far about attractiveness
from a very narrow evolutionary perspective. Looking just at those features, we can see
in how that affects your judgment of how attractive somebody is, but there’s a lot more to looking
good than how you look. There’s a lot of really nice demonstrations
that what you think of a person, what you believe about a person affects how attractive
you think he or she is. So, these are two faces we’ve used in our
experiments, these are judged by people in the absence of other information as a pretty
attractive man or a pretty attractive woman, but it turns out, how attractive you find
them, depends on your beliefs. You probably think the person on the left
is male and on the right is female. If you find that this belief is mistaken,
that the one on the left could be female or the one on the right is female, it will change
how attractive you find them, it will change your sexual response to them. It’ll change your sexual and romantic response
if you discovered that they’re much younger or much older than they look. It will change your response to them if you
were to discover that you were actually looking at a disguised version of your brother or
your sister or your child. That’ll switch your sexual desire right
off if you believe that this is kin because we have a hardwired system that says, you
could think of you kin as extremely attractive, but you won’t tend to be sexually aroused
by them. More generally, we’re strongly affected
in our judgment of how attractive a face is by who we think that face belongs to. This points to a general fact about the psychology
of sex and love, which was pointed out by George Bernard Shaw, who defined love as a
gross exaggeration of the difference between one person and everybody else. And I want to give as an illustration to this
a somewhat unusual case, but I think it makes… I find it persuasive. It’s a story of a woman with Capgras Syndrome. Capgras Syndrome is a very rare neurological
disorder where you develop a very specific delusion. You develop the delusion that the people you
love most in the world have been replaced by exact duplicates. Now, often the results of Capgras Syndrome
are horrible. People have murdered their husbands, their
wives, their children, their parents believing that they were imposters, they were robots
or they were spies or they were aliens. But in at least one case, the result of Capgras
Syndrome turned out to be quite nice. This was a case reported in 1931. And according to the description of the case
report, in 1931, researches described a woman of Capgras Syndrome who complained about her
poorly endowed and sexually inadequate lover. She was happy to report that she had discovered
that he possessed a double who was rich, virile, handsome and aristocratic. Of course, it was the same guy, but she was
seeing him through different eyes. It’s reminiscent of a story by Isaac Busheve[ph]
Singer about a man who lives in a small town and he is bored of everybody in the town,
he’s particularly bored of his wife, who he’s seen for so long. He’s so sick of her, he decided he’s going
to leave and never come back. Find new and exciting people. So he leaves the town. But this being an Isaac Busheve Singer story,
something incredible happens. He gets turned around and ends up marching
back into his old town, but he’s confused. He thinks he’s going to an entirely different
place with all these different people who just so happen to look and behave just like
the people he had left. He sees his wife, he thinks it’s a woman
who looks so much like his wife he had left and falls passionately in love with this new
person. I’ll say one last thing about our responses
to people’s faces. It turns out that how attractive you find
a face is critically dependent on how much you like the person. The more you like somebody, they better they
look to you. This is why spouses in happy marriages will
honestly find their husband or wife far more attractive than anyone else finds them. And this is true more generally. In a classic study, David Bus tested people
from 37 different cultures around the world and asked who is your perfect mate? He was largely looking for sex differences
in these studies, and he found them. He found all sorts of differences in what
men were looking and what women were looking for. But he also found one similarity, one thing…
on way in which men and women were alike. And this is that, for both, the number one
quality people were looking for in a mate was kindness. All of this in the domain of sex supports
a moral from Shakespeare, which is that love… which is, as Shakespeare put it, “Love looks
not with the eyes, but with the mind.” What I’ve done is I’ve very briefly talked
about three case studies in the domain of psychology. I talked about compassion. I talked about racism and I’ve talked about
sex. In the course of this, I tried to illustrate
certain themes in the study of psychology in general. And in fact, I started by listing six domains
of psychology. And I want to go back and just very briefly
point out how these domains connect to what we just talked about. Neuroscience, I started by talking about the
baby’s brain and gave that as a starting point for the question of the development
of compassion, the development of these other traits. But every domain of psychology, every aspect
of mental life is caused by our physical brains. And in fact, in all of these domains I’ve
talked about, compassion and moral psychology and more general, race and stereotyping and
thinking about groups, and sex and sexuality, people have used the methods of neuroscience,
including brain imaging methods like FMRI to better understand the processes going on. To better understand how the mind works in
these domains. I’ve talked about development and I focused
mostly in development on the first case study on compassion, but of course there’s a huge
amount of very interesting research on the development of our understanding of groups
asking the question, for instance, are young children racist? Do young children have complicit biases? And of course in the development of romance
and sexuality, how does the mind of a child before puberty differ and how much is it like
the mind of an adult after puberty and how did these differs take place? These are extraordinarily interesting developmental
questions. All three domains connect to social psychology
and cognitive psychology in clear ways. They are all questions about social psychology,
they are all questions about dealing with other people; how we deal with and make sense
out of other people. And they all connect to questions of cognitive
psychology, like the perception of faces, the formation of categories, the comprehension
of stories; those are all central parts of cognitive psychology and central to understanding
the domains we’ve talked about here. We’ve talked about evolution, particularly
again, in the case of sexuality. But of course, the evolutionary psychology
of morality and compassion is a fascinating issues connecting it with research done with
other primates, our evolutionary relatives like chimpanzees and monkeys. Similarly, there’s a lot of exciting work
on extent to which other primates make sense of other groups. There’s work, for instance, done by my colleague,
Rory Santos at Yale, on the extent to which other non-human primates have races in the
sense that they think of this group as different than that group and that have implicit biases
that extend to one group and not to the other. I’ve said the least about clinical psychology. I brought up on case of Capgras Syndrome as
an exotic case of clinical psychology, but I haven’t talked about it, and this is a
shame because there is so much that could be said. Clinical psychology is extraordinarily interesting
and also connects to each of the domains that I’ve talked about. People are interested in the psychopathology
related to sexuality. They’re particularly interested in the psychopathology
in mental illness in the domain of morality because this connects to one of the most troubling
and one of the most interesting questions in clinical psychology, which concerns the
psychopath. There are some of us, apparently, who don’t
have consciences, who don’t feel compassion, who will destroy other people’s lives out
of malice or self-interest or simple boredom. And the question of where psychopaths come
from, what’s the precise nature of what’s going wrong with them. Most of all, what can be done about them are
issues of extraordinary interest. I want to end on two notes. The first is a note of humility. I think psychologists and more generally,
neuroscientists and cognitive scientists have learned a lot about the mind. But we have a huge way to go. The most clear thing that we don’t understand
is the problem with consciousness, the problem with experience. We understand… we have some glimmering of
how physical brain can process information, can recognize faces, can make judgments, can
form categories. And in fact, we build machines, computers
that are physical machines that can do these things. There’s no great mystery here. But we’re left with what the philosopher,
David Chalmers, has called “the hard problem with consciousness.” The hard problem of consciousness is how a
physical brain, and it looks like a lump of meatloaf, can give rise to pain and pleasure,
give rise to humiliation and lust and meaning and purpose. How these things can come from a mere physical
objects. And we struggle to explain it. This is a problem that goes through every
aspect of psychology. I’ve said before that I’m a developmental
psychologist. I’m fascinated by the minds of children. This is my son, Zachary, when he was two-years-old. And I think as a developmental psychologist
there’s some things I understand about Zachary. I understand his developing knowledge of the
world, his growing grasp of language. How he makes sense of objects and people. But I don’t understand what it’s like
to be a two-year-old. I don’t understand his experience, his phenomenal
sense of himself. And I don’t think any psychologist understands
that. I think we’re at a loss when it comes to
this very, very hard problem. But the second theme is optimism. I think we’ve made huge progress in understanding
the mind. I think over the last many years, psychologists
along with neuroscientists and cognitive scientists and philosophers have learned a huge amount
about how the mind works and I think there is no reason to expect this progress to stop. I think that in the end, the most important
and intimate aspects of ourselves, our understanding of other people, our conception of human groups,
our conception of ourselves, the decision we make, the emotions we feel, our sense of
right and wrong, how we know what’s right and know what’s wrong. And the forces that make us act upon is the
most interesting and intimate aspects of ourselves will be explained through the program of scientific
psychology. They will be explained through constructing
scientific hypotheses and testing them. They will be understood through neuroscience. They’ll be understood through computation. They’ll be understood through evolution. And together, we will come to some real insights
about how the mind works. Now, some people might find this a scary prospect. I know that there are some people that worry
that a scientific perspective of the mind takes away from us somehow. It diminishes us. It makes us less than what we are. I don’t agree. I have the opposite reaction, which is that
as the more you understand the mind from a serious scientific point of view; the more
you come to appreciate its complexity, its uniqueness and its beauty. Thank you.

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  • Reply Sedna Floating April 10, 2016 at 11:54 pm

    sound effects are extremely irritating

  • Reply Timo Kirchler April 15, 2016 at 6:52 pm


  • Reply Brian Schowers April 18, 2016 at 1:53 am

    Because there no other reason someone would think Obama isn't an American. GG

  • Reply Steven Blancher April 30, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    I think they should do a psychological study on after an hour long video of intellectual content, people only want talk about sound. Aim low, you always win!!! I contribute by pooping out my mouth, yay I contribute. Damn losers.

  • Reply Earth Water Air Spirit Fire Lebanese Buffalo May 12, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    Ahimsa lucky!! we avoided every trap by being blazed Loving kindness, things really going good today again, the office buildings have a lot fewer vacant offices now, due to easier to access entryways. The employed are getting down to their honeybee chi-generating desk dances in dignity and rather than what Lung called 'impersonal assimilation'. Small Chocolate is provided throughout the day at the office (one of Suzannes creative proposed business energy models). In terms of output: aside from daily archiving and publishing of the hugely successful reinforced business texts from Microsoft 95 era, rather than alarm people by hiring construction workers (in response to numerous requests to help cancel construction and ensure empty already existing useable spaces are used without need to build more, preventing crowding at urbanization but still maintaining the clean aura of nonexploitative big corporation) We've sponsored on the edge areas to be decked out in little neat hemp paper notes (in dry erase board style, caucus printed letters, handwritten by our Faux CEO Dana), designating them as suburban and environmentally conscious, DIY Ethos and morality meets corporate level unlimited energies. w/o total seduction by the idea of over flaunted wealth, we'made a point to walk some local malls and buy some cute new modest/clean outfits from designer sages. The consumer is enlightened, both caring for style, adventure games (computer based) and for moral and spirit matters. Our asian circle has made a point to reward and accentuate good qualities found in "fa-westerner" rather than chide bad ones. In return we ourselves have become more free and loose, but not to a point of energy loss, Sensi Yu notes "hold no excess tension, move like grasshopper, soft grass". Law is maintained and initially threatening postures flow into friendly ones. Its as if the earth is at peace with the harmony between town and forest now, yielding suburbs and respected forests. There is daily business, rest, & no intense drama, stereotypes no longer binding back expression of individuals. The corporate shadow manifests not as crimes of waste and abuse to nature but as prosperity of minorities (dark skinned individuals) in the corporate system, beautiful unforced and innocent renderings of respect and lack of color isolating story telling.
    In the home setting both dark and light skinned employees cultivate a culture history mythos that acknowledges the suffering of both dark and light in unison, and their eventual overcoming of pain through virtue.
    Traditional history is not ignored or downgraded but this deeper woven yin yang tao rendering has been endless helpful to employees and their communities both in the office and out.
    The acknowledgement of the hidden joys and struggles of both sides being equal (rather posed unfairly by old historians to generate an effect of competition) is deeply american and we find we still thrive as heritages without being led to believe that oppression is real. Its an added point of meditative retreat from the world, given to us by justice.
    No one starts from a disadvantage. Our way of viewing history has changed, faith in balance is restored, analysis is free and nonmorbid. At home the neighbor becomes cleaner and greener and villages show a larger amount of wealthy but non expansive homes, accompanied by large public nature park areas, with nice off nook areas for privacy, as well as many flourishing shops and stores selling books food clothes mini golf video games, and much more. Awesome proportional weaving. Zero new construction, corporate unity and cleanliness, art and less graffiti

  • Reply AnthonydoesYT May 15, 2016 at 4:30 am


  • Reply AnthonydoesYT May 15, 2016 at 4:30 am


  • Reply AnthonydoesYT May 15, 2016 at 5:28 am


  • Reply AnthonydoesYT May 15, 2016 at 5:28 am


  • Reply jo atjo June 8, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    it's like these videos were made for a 9th grade audience.

  • Reply BLACKEND12 July 4, 2016 at 7:12 am

    Knawledge Overload!!

  • Reply Mark Ambrodji July 4, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    Wow, 12:00 just blew my mind

  • Reply Katie July 9, 2016 at 8:07 am

    Sex does not equal gender and are not related in any way, except through stereotypes

  • Reply Keith Taylor July 10, 2016 at 2:03 am This link changes everything. The link to the book that is an unmatched higher understanding of psychology.

  • Reply Frank Hill July 13, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    wow ! dr bloom is the most cool person i have ever seen ! i wash all his courses, YouTube. they are excellent!!!

  • Reply Ramaraksha July 30, 2016 at 3:53 am

    Again at around 10 – talking about Mead saying kill strangers – modern religion says the same thing – "WE" the in-group will be rewarded with Heaven and "THEY" the out-group are to be cast into Hell. Even though in the modern world we share space with THEM, we interact with them, they are our colleagues, friends, neighbors, human beings – but it doesn't seem to matter
    The Brainwashing power of religion is simply amazing

  • Reply CobraCMDR August 1, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    6:00 sources the onion. HAHA

  • Reply Ramaraksha August 6, 2016 at 4:40 am

    Purpose of Life? Well according to Christians and muslims it is a matter of joining the "right" religion, praying to the "right" God – basically that's all God cares about – good thing God is stupid that way

  • Reply Philosification August 20, 2016 at 9:16 am

    (30:00) The part about listening to female musicians has since been disproven; It was not that listeners had a bias but that more female applicants got nervous when they were being watched so they did better when they couldn't be seen.

  • Reply Victor Hugo August 20, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    test test *test test * test * test* * test *

  • Reply NATURAL LAW September 8, 2016 at 12:07 am

    "It's the most Interesting because it's about US"   And that's why I Love it.  =])

  • Reply Earth Water Air Spirit Fire Lebanese Buffalo September 13, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    השמ, אנא כיקר ל לעזור ארי של ארילנד, לא שפע מלחודות ב נפש דרק
    haShem, please remember to help the Lion of Ireland, may there not be many traps on the spiritual path!
     רשאי התמכרות, סתריאתיפּימ, ו נסק נצל של עמר ו גוף להיות קול ל לְהִמָנַע ךי טִירוֹן ו מוּמחֶה
    may addiction, stereotypves, and harmful use of language or body be easy to avoid for both novice and expert

  • Reply USGishumura September 20, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    the more aroused we get, the less disgust we feel

  • Reply Niboe September 25, 2016 at 4:49 am

    Liked the talk but can I just complain about the sound affects for a minute? They are distracting, annoying, and in some cases downright painful to listen to, at least for me.

    That said I found the part with disgust and outgroups kinda interesting. I wouldn't have thought that those two things would be linked in our minds.

  • Reply Timur Tietze September 29, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    I love your videos, and I know this is nitpicking… but I find all those sound effects distracting and annoying. Other than that, great videos. thank you

  • Reply Brendan Hall October 29, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    When you put the brain in the wrong way 3:29

  • Reply DyceBookClub November 2, 2016 at 5:22 am

    Wow very fascinating video!!

  • Reply Alejandro Vera November 5, 2016 at 1:26 am

    why are you fat?

  • Reply BeginPanicAttack November 7, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    lmao the spaghetti animation didnt illustrate the concept very well at all

  • Reply Martijn Haak November 14, 2016 at 8:30 am

    Don't listen to this through headphones!! Thumbs down because of the high pitched noises that actually hurt and most likely have damaged my ears! Time for a lesson in perception for these people.

  • Reply iphoneusdsd November 21, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    I dont think the toddler was thinking "oh the man is in distress, I have to help, I feel bad for that guy". I dont think its compassion he thinks more like a machine. He sees a problem and solved it for him. Dont think the toddler feel sorry for the man he simply solves his problem.

  • Reply goji December 4, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    A lot of stuff said in the compassion part sounds like presumption bull crap… Not saying I 'know it better' or anything, just saying different videos on youtube which are about compassion and empathy say different things than him… which also sound way more logical

  • Reply Maxwell Legere December 5, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    really wanted to watch this but the sound effects made it too hard….

  • Reply Andy Valdez December 15, 2016 at 6:43 am

    Justin Beiber was the example for attractive?! Pfffft, hhahahahahahaahHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

  • Reply forgive me if i dont shake hands January 18, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    The problem with discussing many psychology theories is that sometimes you are right and sometimes you are wrong, but you will never know which times you are right and which times you are wrong. We are mostly strangers to ourselves and are consistently in the darkness about why we do the things we do, we just have unexplainable and unconscious urges and act on them. We dont really know why we help people, we dont know if we truely have free will. I can be narrow minded and give my opinion on these matters, but i'd be a fool to accept any of them.

  • Reply Andrew Godly January 28, 2017 at 8:23 am

    I don't correlate much with disgust, it's really hard to disgust me. But I get an urge everytime I see a rich person (super rich, billionaires and up) to bludgeon them to death. I think it correlates more with the fact that I see the wealthy as torturers. As I'm disgusted with the overwhelming inequality in today's society

  • Reply pavo6503 January 31, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    those sound effects need to go. Didn't we learn from the early days of Power Point that unnecessary sounds and animations can hurt a good presentation?

  • Reply Nick Bultman February 23, 2017 at 2:51 am

    29:00 why do we think the black people are more likely to be recommended?

  • Reply rani yako February 23, 2017 at 9:52 pm

    I am a big fan of Professor Paul and very grateful for all his lectures
    Can you please allow the subtitle feature because i am very interested in translating it so that more people can benefit

  • Reply Marino Frias March 23, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    is there a transcript of this on the web somewhere ?

  • Reply Ebony Nicole March 27, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    Did anyone think about whats the big idea that might capture something important about the field of psychology? Answers please !

  • Reply jemielnic March 28, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    it's 2017 now. If you are white and you are not disgusted by your own race – you are racist/nazi/xenophobic/bigot etc. Just deplorable… Praise Kek : )

  • Reply AuthorityCat April 10, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    Says he believes we have an instant moral compass, but all the examples he displays show children that are not newborn. Isn't it obvious then that this is a learned trait from the parents? Babies learn very quickly. I'd like to see more concrete data on if they're compassionate from birth. Obviously I believe they are not. There have been situations of children who have never been shown this information, and end up growing up without the ability to understand compassion. The data shows this. Everything we do is learned information besides the most basic of things such as consumption of food. Even then I wonder. Some of the cases of neglected children showed they couldn't even understand pain.

  • Reply Donny Miller April 15, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    Great talk, lots of insight – but enough of the gay stuff…..

    Personally speaking – I do not care what two or more consenting adults do, but I do not need to have it waived in my face every time I try to do something. Not everything needs to be sexual.

    Again, great talk.

  • Reply Christopher Taylor May 2, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    @11:24 LOL

  • Reply Oswell Music May 31, 2017 at 2:27 am

    This video was very helpful and easy to understand. Great work!

  • Reply Jacques M June 2, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    Shakespeare's stereotype is accurate to this day…

  • Reply Jacques M June 3, 2017 at 1:02 am

    You know the old Polish proverb, right? "The Jew Cries Out in Pain as He Strikes You." Jews (like crypto jew Paul Bloom, – Jewish family in Montreal, Quebec) are constantly telling us how it is bad to have stereotypes against them…of course, they mix in other races and groups (gays, etc.) to make it seem like they are not just talking about themselves. The fact is Jews have a massive victim mentality and it seems they are almost genetically inclined to express it. They sweeten the story with other random bullshit but the final message is always…"all you people are so evil towards us jews." They of course capitalize on this in MANY ways…they use it in order to get a sort of victim derived sense of entitlement. It's pretty amazing how they can rationalize exploiting the entire human race. Regular, good Jews (like me!)…you know who you are…better speak up against the elitist Jews in this world instead of being quiet and hoping to secretly benefit.

  • Reply My Fake Name June 6, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    this guy is the best communicator that I have ever seen and heard in the domain of psychology. excellent beyond measure.

  • Reply Leo Bat June 15, 2017 at 8:44 am

    I'm so happy I'm not a liberal so I'm not at war with myself.

  • Reply Nichole June 25, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    Advanced cultures demonstrate barbarism too.

  • Reply Nichole June 25, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    Did they ask them how they felt about European Americans too?

  • Reply Nichole June 25, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    Mother Theresa was a monster.

  • Reply Liz González July 10, 2017 at 4:12 am

    Really liked this video, very informative

  • Reply lokustic July 14, 2017 at 5:49 am

    is there a way to cure lgbt?

  • Reply EggsBennedictCrumblesnatch August 7, 2017 at 12:18 am


    My favorite part is when he's explaining unconscious biases, and they proceed to use a didgeridoo sound effect for the representation of negative unconscious biases…

    Right after explaining a study about issues of unconscious biases against a black person.

    10/10 editing team.

    You made something linked to me in my uni lectures funny for the wrong reason

  • Reply Paris Nguyen August 19, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    TG: 22:16 PM
    Ngày; 19/8/2017, Tháng 8
    Paul Bloom
    The Psychology of Everything

  • Reply Denis Daly September 24, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    This great talk by professor Bloom does not need to be jazzed up with silly and annoying sound effects. The people who watch this, being intelligent are more likely to score high on need for cognition, and so enjoy thinking. We focus on the content of what is being said. No need for distracting sound effects.

  • Reply Ana Midori September 24, 2017 at 11:12 pm

    How broadly is your compassion professor Paul? Are you vegan for ethical reasons?

  • Reply underapinetree November 7, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    Glad to see the angel was white and the devil black

  • Reply k November 12, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    10:33 When the song slaps

  • Reply Denwo Bro November 24, 2017 at 10:58 am

    Great video, thank you for sharing.

  • Reply Michael Hennessy January 6, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    Thank you, very interesting

  • Reply lordkalem January 9, 2018 at 12:03 am

    33 minutes is disturbing because its unconsciously (seemingly purposefully) putting bias into the mind of the watcher about males. as well as stating the very wrong idea that males have less investment in their offspring. It completely ignores the fact that males are bigger because they ARE invested in their offspring. if you are a weaker male in the world of survival of the fittest than a more powerful male can come and take your mate away and kill your offspring. Also this is not the case for every animal as well. there are animals that completely flip this after birth where the male is primarily in charge of care while the female protects.

  • Reply ToddtheWadd January 12, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    Paul Bloom does his job so well. Yale offers free lectures on youtube in a selection of courses for those who otherwise wouldn't have access and his psychology lectures are superb. Search free Yale courses or something like that. Just a library card and get yourself a free education

  • Reply Terry Thompson January 17, 2018 at 2:48 am

    So.. a few questions here. First question is, society basically lies to us and tells us that we are collaborating, when in fact all life is competition: That being said, why shouldn't anyone amorally pursue a victory, no matter how devastating the cost to opponents? It would appear that civilization occurs by getting people to volunteer to lose, by keeping them ignorant of the competitive element, or by way of suppressing/weakening people, or just outright deceiving them about the nature of things. In an artificial system where it is engineered for some people to lose, then what is the point of those people even living? Wouldn't it be more humane to offer those people a painless suicide option? If no matter WHAT a beta male busts their ass to accomplish, learn, and acquire, they can be instantly defeated by the visceral biological compulsory attractiveness of the mere effortless presence of an alpha male during female ovulation, then meritocracy doesn't actually exist.. even by artificial means. If the goal of society is competition (WAR), then why not prepare ALL of the competitors by developing them to the maximum potential? If a strong/healthy competitor defeats a weak/temporarily ill competitor, is that actually proof of superiority? If the goal of society is collaboration (Peace), then why do we facilitate the breeding of obsolete warrior type men, and worship their psychosis and violence by continuously glorifying them in movies and media? War or Peace? WHICH IS IT? Make up your damned minds, humans. We talk the talk, but we do not walk the walk.

  • Reply Russell Spears February 10, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    Having a feeling about something is what #Meaning means! If you have no feeling about something it is likely an abstract notion that you don't "feel you understand". Feelings build connections in my opinion: connections between people and even ideas in our own heads.

    No I see #Sympathy as having the same emotionality (This is the assumptive element he mentioned).

    #Empathy is having your own emotional reaction to others suffering – it may or may not be the same.

    #Compassion is a very moral perspective that may or may not require sympathy or empathy to be meaningful to the compassionate person.

    #Conscience is the moral being itself: it is a product of humanities axial age and of the exposure to ethical thinking.

    Having a #Feeling (some type of sympathy or empathy) about something is necessary for therapy, because it shows a meaningful connection. Thus empathy is key for therapeutic work and – or else a toaster with AI can do the same work someday soon…can you even imagine the situation…. lol

  • Reply erfho8y February 12, 2018 at 11:16 pm

    fuck. who's this made for? 4 and 5 year olds? i dont need those annoying sounds at every animation and picture….

  • Reply Jop Mens February 18, 2018 at 4:24 am

    We are terrible statistical learners, maybe you should learn a bit from Kahneman 🙂

  • Reply Ravi Raushan February 28, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    Nice presentation. Thanks for the lesson.

  • Reply Jory Ferrell March 2, 2018 at 2:30 am

    Now that you mention it, I have never really desired to create my own kids. I have lately been very vocal about the concept of adoption, but I never really thought about how I haven't ever wanted to produce kids of my own…I am interested in sex…but not for creating children…

  • Reply joe main March 11, 2018 at 1:17 am

    i agree with him on many things except for when it comes to a president. we shouldnt just say hey hes black so we should vote for him! we should know what they are about and what they are for first

  • Reply Chris Marklowitz April 13, 2018 at 5:56 am

    It is a discussion of cause and effect and identity or properties of something. Just like everything just short of probability, amount, and space

  • Reply Van Hoey May 3, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    I hate the noises, sounds in the background

  • Reply channel May 5, 2018 at 1:34 am

    Some misinformation around 32-33 minutes: Males are typically only larger for mammals and birds; in most of the rest of the animal kingdom (i.e., the vast majority of it), females are actually bigger.

  • Reply AlbertJustice May 16, 2018 at 7:28 am

    shoutout to Peez, love that boi.

  • Reply The Hollywood Phantom June 15, 2018 at 10:02 am

    No Arthur Schopenhauer is he? And he went to Yale, well that say's a right lot about that place.
    That was the most dull presentation I ever heard.

  • Reply Mani Alizadeh June 21, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    why is there a podium behind him ? lol

  • Reply aaronsdavis July 13, 2018 at 9:53 am

    Robert Wright lookin suave.

  • Reply Matthew Norsa August 1, 2018 at 6:31 am

    Excellent! Fascinating! Brilliant!

  • Reply Ruben Kelevra August 5, 2018 at 1:38 am

    I think I might be fundamental different, I was never disgusted by strangers. 🙄

  • Reply henry spuria August 27, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    This guy is a cool cat!

  • Reply Luge Mania September 14, 2018 at 9:19 am

    It is so awkward how people at nit-picking at minor details (the onion, Dr Phil and Freud, psychology is a hack, sphinxes) in the video that the maker used purposely.
    Objections to the sound effects etc are okay, but it's really awkward for these people who have never read or researched to watch an insightful video and then come up with these random criticisms.

  • Reply Mark Whippy September 16, 2018 at 5:05 am

    36:30 Romance novels and TV shows like The Bachelor and other wedding reality shows like that are female porn.

  • Reply neo nkuna October 9, 2018 at 4:12 pm

    amazing content!!!

  • Reply shawn burnham October 15, 2018 at 10:34 am


  • Reply owen blackman December 1, 2018 at 11:01 pm

    I love this guys lectures

  • Reply Ivan Rogic December 22, 2018 at 10:27 am

    Thank you for the knowledge!

  • Reply RookieN08 February 2, 2019 at 3:32 pm

    You should watch his psychology lecture series on youtube if you loved this video. It's called 'Introduction to Psychology' at Yale University.

  • Reply Talha Bedir February 4, 2019 at 5:44 pm

    very good and informative video. However, the subtitles are horrible.

  • Reply Yōshanai February 6, 2019 at 7:16 pm

    How broad does this compassion extend?

  • Reply Lawrence February 16, 2019 at 11:10 pm

    Mr. Bloom is brilliant. A giant human intellectual and handsome.

  • Reply DoctorDejay February 23, 2019 at 1:39 am

    The slight of hand of these Postmodernists are getting better every month. Pay attention

  • Reply richard ouvrier March 18, 2019 at 4:30 am

    Stranger anxiety. I've seen it but not all kids show it.

  • Reply goromaster10 June 9, 2019 at 12:11 am

    What retard does the sound?

  • Reply WTF June 19, 2019 at 11:18 pm

    sharing food with other baby/person is the literal definition of selfishness 🙂 because that will make YOU happy, important, that person will share their food with YOU when you're in need, conclusion: Morality is BULLSHIT.

  • Reply Katana Sakura July 21, 2019 at 5:33 pm

    Thx a lot

  • Reply Barbarian Brain August 10, 2019 at 5:16 am

    13:00 have you repeated the experiment using male homosexuals? If this is about in-group out-group dynamics, they should become meaner to heterosexuals in the disgust condition

  • Reply Mukesh Sharma August 12, 2019 at 4:46 am

    Thnx very much sir

  • Reply brazilac123 September 17, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    What do we do about psychopaths/sociopaths/NPD ? They are ruining the life of many people all over the world. I noticed many of them are in the highest position of power.

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