I read an interesting article that kinda attempts to explain the source of a few of the common “politically incorrect” stereotypes of human nature:
“our thoughts, feelings, and behavior are produced not only by our individual experiences and environment in our own lifetime but also by what happened to our ancestors millions of years ago. ” – [Slashdot/Psychology Today]
Ok. So in essence we are basically all still cave people. How interesting. Anyhoo, much of the article deals with stereotypes. I’m not one to stereotype, however there is a big difference between predicting the behavior of the average member of a culture or race based on statistics, and attempting to predict the behavior of an individual member of the demographic in question by applying the statistics to that specific individual.
You can’t. But it’s a mistake I see people make daily. Anyone can tell you that any fairly symmetrical coin, if tossed in the air 100 times, should statistically land 50 times tails up and 50 times heads up. However nobody can guarantee which side will come up on the 50th toss. Or for any toss for that matter. It’s impossible. Stereotypes are the same.
Stereotypes are not pointless. A stereotype can actually be statistically accurate, and may be useful for situations where a gross generalization is needed. However it is a mistake to attempt to apply such generalizations at an individual level, since an individuals behavior can vary widely from the general parameters upon which the stereotype is based. So don’t do it.
All that aside, I found myself agreeing with most of what the article says, and though I found some if it rather surprising, it still made sense in a weird, instinctual way… Perhaps my inner caveman was nodding his head vigorously and going “Uh Huh! True Dat!”. Either way, take a gander, it’s a pretty good read, and it makes a lot of sense if you think about it objectively, even if some of it ostensibly flies in the face of “political correctness”.
Ten Politically Incorrect Truths About Human Nature – [Slashdot/Psychology Today]