Re: Brain Structure Drives The Consequent Effects Of Economic Inequality

Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2019 5:49 pm, #24
by MaureenCarter
From my undergraduate days in college I learned we are only aware of 5% of our brain activity and the other 95% is subconscious. Economic inequality works the same way; neuroscience research indicates most of our thoughts on the matter have been preordained by the unconscious portion of our brains and this happens extremely fast without our awareness. In fact, as soon as you meet someone you have already made an unconscious decision about that person's social class based upon their skin color, gender, facial appearance, dress, and a myriad of other variables outside of your conscious control.

Mysteries of the mind
Your unconscious is making your everyday decisions
By Marianne Szegedy-Maszak
US News and World Report
http://www.auburn.edu/~mitrege/ENGL2210/USNWR-mind.html
According to cognitive neuroscientists, we are conscious of only about 5 percent of our cognitive activity, so most of our decisions, actions, emotions, and behavior depends on the 95 percent of brain activity that goes beyond our conscious awareness. From the beating of our hearts to pushing the grocery cart and not smashing into the kitty litter, we rely on something that is called the adaptive unconscious, which is all the ways that our brains understand the world that the mind and the body must negotiate. The adaptive unconscious makes it possible for us to, say, turn a corner in our car without having to go through elaborate calculations to determine the precise angle of the turn, the velocity of the automobile, the steering radius of the car. It is what can make us understand the correct meaning of statements like "prostitutes appeal to pope" or "children make nourishing snacks" without believing that they mean that the pope has an illicit life and cannibals are munching on children.
Fueled by powerful neuroimaging technology, questions about how we make snap decisions, why we feel uncomfortable without any obvious causes, what motivates us, and what satisfies us are being answered not through lying on a couch and exploring individual childhood miseries but by looking at neurons firing in particular parts of our brains. Hardly a week passes without the release of the results of a new study on these kinds of processes. And popular culture is so fascinated by neuroscience that Blink, journalist Malcolm Gladwell's exploration of "thinking without thinking," has remained on the bestseller lists for four weeks.

Most of us can appreciate the fact that we make up our minds about things based on thinking that takes place somewhere just out of our reach. But today, scientists are finding neural correlates to those processes, parts of the brain that we never gave their due, communicating with other parts, triggering neurotransmitters, and driving our actions. Says Clinton Kilts, a professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory, "There is nothing that you do, there is no thought that you have, there is no awareness, there is no lack of awareness, there is nothing that marks your daily existence that doesn't have a neural code. The greatest challenge for us is to figure out how to design the study that will reveal these codes."
This is one of the reasons economic inequality is so powerful and ubiquitous in our society. In fact, the brain makes these decisions before we are even consciously aware of them.

Nature
Brain makes decisions before you even know it
By Kerri Smith April 11th, 2008
Brain activity predicts decisions before they are consciously made.
Your brain makes up its mind up to ten seconds before you realize it, according to researchers. By looking at brain activity while making a decision, the researchers could predict what choice people would make before they themselves were even aware of having made a decision.

“We think our decisions are conscious, but these data show that consciousness is just the tip of the iceberg,” says John-Dylan Haynes, a neuroscientist at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany, who led the study.

Signs of Social Class: The Experience of Economic Inequality in Everyday Life
Michael W. Kraus, Jun Won Park, Jacinth J. X. Tan
First Published May 25, 2017
https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691616673192
Abstract

By some accounts, global economic inequality is at its highest point on record. The pernicious effects of this broad societal trend are striking: Rising inequality is linked to poorer health and well-being across countries, continents, and cultures. The economic and psychological forces that perpetuate inequality continue to be studied, and in this theoretical review, we examine the role of daily experiences of economic inequality—the communication of social class signals between interaction partners—in this process. We theorize that social class signals activate social comparison processes that strengthen group boundaries between the haves and have nots in society. In particular, we argue that class signals are a frequent, rapid, and accurate component of person perception, and we provide new data and analyses demonstrating the accuracy of class signaling in 60-s interactions, Facebook photographs, and isolated recordings of brief speech. We suggest that barriers to the reduction of economic inequality in society arise directly from this class signaling process through the augmentation of class boundaries and the elicitation of beliefs and behaviors that favor the economic status quo.