Sholeh: Prejudice is a losing game - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Sholeh: Prejudice is a losing game

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Posted: Thursday, June 21, 2012 6:45 am

It’s not often I see researchers asking whether prejudice might have its advantages. Yet that’s exactly what a federal technology group in Switzerland, ETH Zurich, did — explore the question of whether prejudices might be rational under certain circumstances. The answer was no. In fact, they concluded the opposite, that prejudiced people are disadvantaged, lose opportunities, and learn nothing new.

Also unusual about this study, reported this spring in the world’s largest peer-reviewed science journal PLoS One, is that it was conducted with gamers. The researchers disregarded the social ethics of prejudice, focusing on the scientific method of game theory.

No, that’s not an oxymoron. Even a non-gamer like me can appreciate the logic of simplified success and loss in games. It’s an interesting approach: Do prejudgments create advantage, or disadvantage? Do they help you win, or lose? The researchers considered a possibility that some prejudgments, what might be called intuitive by those who hold them, may be rational. Testing it, they found the opposite; prejudgments are misleading. Prejudice loses.

In the simulation game, the study’s subjects played with other players/characters who behaved in a friendly or unfriendly manner with associated traits (e.g. gender, age, assets, religion, or cultural background). The game sometimes required collaboration to avoid losses. The idea was to see how experiences with one character led to prejudgments of later ones, and the way that affected choices in the game.

They found that prejudices formed quickly and early sometimes led to initial points, but also led to player failures later in the game. When subject players got to know characters and collaborated with them, they consistently performed better. These players learned more about how to succeed at the game, and learned it faster.

As the ETH report concludes, prejudiced strategies may seem successful and rational for a short time. However, as those who employ them don’t learn from mistakes or adjust their behavior, in the long run they must yield to strategies that respond to others in a more differentiated way. Cooperation and collaboration paid better dividends than prejudgments and resistance to others.

“Figuratively speaking, if there are only five people on an island or the people on an island have known each other for a long time, prejudices are just plain useless,” explains study author Thomas Chadefaux.

Apparent player success or failure when prejudice was employed was also linked to time and complexity.

“Prejudices are — especially because they are formed quickly and easily — often convenient in the everyday world, but fail when the situation becomes more complicated,” concluded researcher Dirk Helbing. “While it is efficient to react to a single trait in the beginning, you must not stop learning new things in a complex world; otherwise, you miss many good opportunities.”

I might be the last person to suggest that wisdom can come from a game, even a scientific one. Yet the results of this study do suggest something else, that overcoming prejudices takes time and patience. Differentiated judgment — judging things with more complexity, individually, and being able to adapt behavior and reactions accordingly — increases with time and experience.

If we look with fresh eyes.

Sholeh Patrick is a columnist for the Hagadone News Network. Contact her at sholehjo@hotmail.com.

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.

10 comments:

  • icetears posted at 10:24 pm on Mon, Oct 29, 2012.

    icetears Posts: 3

    Review the six styles for administration conflicts that were introduced previously and are abbreviated actuality in Strategies for Interrupting Prejudice(check to see if acceptance accept this vocabulary). jogos de sinuca
    todos os jogos da barbieExplain that all of these means can be acclimated to accord with prejudice- and stereotyperelated conflicts.

     
  • icetears posted at 10:23 pm on Mon, Oct 29, 2012.

    icetears Posts: 3

    Review the six styles for administration conflicts that were introduced previously and are abbreviated actuality in Strategies for Interrupting Prejudice(check to see if acceptance accept this vocabulary). Explain that all of these means can be acclimated to accord with prejudice- and stereotyperelated conflicts.
    jogos de sinuca
    todos os jogos da barbie

     
  • icetears posted at 10:22 pm on Mon, Oct 29, 2012.

    icetears Posts: 3

    Review the six styles for administration conflicts that were introduced previously and are abbreviated actuality in Strategies for Interrupting Prejudice(check to see if acceptance accept this vocabulary). Explain that all of these means can be acclimated to accord with prejudice- and stereotyperelated conflicts.
    jogos de sinuca
    todos os jogos da barbie

     
  • yarply posted at 8:17 pm on Thu, Jun 21, 2012.

    yarply Posts: 492


    Spiritually it is a losing game.. But if you believe in evolution it's a winning game. And the ones that are best at it reach the top of the food chain. Isn't that what survival of the fittest is all about?
    Isn't that what kids for the last 30 plus years are and have been taught in public schools?
    Is it wrong not to want to own a pit bull or be around one because they are known, rightly or wrongly to be unpredictable. Is it wrong to have an aversion to lettuce because the last three times you ate it you developed a bad case of gas or salmonella or something. Is it disadvantages that you don't go swimming in the everglades because alligators swim in certain areas but could be anywhere?
    Is it wrong to not want to try blow-fish because you are afraid it may kill you?

     
  • Jeffrey Wherley posted at 2:32 pm on Thu, Jun 21, 2012.

    Jeffrey Wherley Posts: 3969

    A very superficial study. Talk about pre-judgements, this study has based it conclusions on them.

    The Gamers that label as prejudiced, couldn't possibly be able to learn tactics and styles from those they are prejudice against? What tom foolery is that? When we, as people, oppose others on Ideology, Nationality, or any other category, I have only found that Stupid (not prejudice) people are incapable of learning from those they oppose.

    America was decidedly prejudice against both the Krauts and Nips, but we weren't stupid we learned from their abilities and weaknesses. It seems more likely the people that did this study, got caught by their own prejudices of thinking Prejudice and Stupid are synonymous.

     
  • voxpop posted at 11:33 am on Thu, Jun 21, 2012.

    voxpop Posts: 738

    There's an old saying, to the effect, "just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you." A lot of what many call prejudice is actually a lack of trust based on experience. Reagan said it well when it comes to dealing with those you wonder about, trust but verify.

     
  • milburnschmidt posted at 8:25 am on Thu, Jun 21, 2012.

    milburnschmidt Posts: 1161

    Ah yes Switzerland that great melting pot of Europe known for its large population of poor immigrants . Everyone should respect all the accomplishments of the swiss and their contributions to society. Where else could stolen Nazi gold taken from the teeth of jewish death camp inmates be stored for generations and held in safety. Miss Patrick must be running out of material subjecting the press readers to another lecture no one can understand.

     
  • capnbutch posted at 8:18 am on Thu, Jun 21, 2012.

    capnbutch Posts: 729

    Sholeh,

    NoName is correct once again; Your odd prejudices hurt everyone. You want to be remembered for integrity and not for manipulation. Integrity works.

    We all agree that, "Prejudice is a losing game." That part is easy.

    Now we have to be more honest than the people we so earnestly want to change. There can be no chink in our armor. We must be right every time and we must be right in every way. Facts alone bring success. (Be sure to drop your predispositions and realize that "chink" has nothing to do with Asians.)

    You must learn before you teach. It is all about integrity. Without integrity, we fail completely.

     
  • wheels1 posted at 7:56 am on Thu, Jun 21, 2012.

    wheels1 Posts: 431

    ' Prejudice people are disadvantaged,lose opportunities,and learn nothing new '. One of my first thoughts after reading comments on the Press site.

     
  • NoName posted at 7:02 am on Thu, Jun 21, 2012.

    NoName Posts: 253

    Sholeh, have you got past your prejudice against Caucasians yet? I still remember that you were puzzled at how Obama's family may have arrived in America....... and you weren't joking.

     
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