Saturday, September 15, 2012

Moral judgment without emotions

A recent experiment about the impact of emotions in decisionmaking with some lofty aspirations:

The study's answer will inform a classic philosophical debate on whether humans make moral judgments based on norms and societal rules, or based on their emotions.

The test basically required people to perform different versions of the trolley problem, asking them to hurt/kill one person in order to save multiple people. Most people have trouble pulling the trigger. The people with damage to a part of the frontal lobe that makes them less emotional "make a less personal calculation." "The logical choice, they say, is to sacrifice one life to save many." Most people are torn between the two choices, but the emotionless people "seem to lack that conflict." Instead, they behave perfectly rationally:


"What is absolutely astonishing about our results is how selective the deficit is," he said. "Damage to the frontal lobe leaves intact a suite of moral problem solving abilities, but damages judgments in which an aversive action is put into direct conflict with a strong utilitarian outcome."

It is the feeling of aversion that normally blocks humans from harming each other. Damasio described it as "a combination of rejection of the act, but combined with the social emotion of compassion for that particular person."


Surprise! This time the sociopaths is not the bad guy.

The study holds another implication for philosophy.By showing that humans are neurologically unfit for strict utilitarian thinking, the study suggests that neuroscience may be able to test different philosophies for compatibility with human nature.

It turns out that utilitarian judgments are sometimes valuable and important and that it's the normal people who have the deficit in making them and the sociopaths who excel.

140 comments:

  1. Sometimes the maths is simple; a few must suffer so that many can live. Most people are incapable of using logic however; it is generally left up to people uninhibited by such limitations to decide for them.

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    1. There are plenty of people who will take a very hostile attitude towards a murderer or harmer of people and shoot them. Me personally? I imagine it would be hard for me, but I really don't think I represent most people. Again, it's clear that this is the opinion of a sociopath on neurotypicals rather than hearing from the majority of neurotypicals themselves.

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    2. Trying to understand how people with empathy will act is of course harder to do if you do not have it... which is one reason a sociopath might say that most people with empathy will have problems hurting someone in the name of defense... while someone who actually has it may be totally surprised at someone thinking that.

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    3. I imagine the thought process was "Well, they have empathy, and from what I can see empathy prevents people from doing many things."

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  2. ARGGGGH damn you stassssissssss!!!


    :-)

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    1. I love that warm fuzzy feeling I get from denying you all the mostly pointless position of being first!

      Don't worry, I'm sure you'll get your turn sooner or later alter :).

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    2. Hey! As far as I know, I am the only one who got first two or three times in a row. (I honestly cannot remember if 'twas twice or thrice.) :P

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    3. Alter
      I tried to write to you but the e mail did not work. Eden/Extremity et al~ imitates me all the time, so unless you see my icon, it is not me.
      Thanks

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  3. 30 people from universities is their test base to represent most humans? Are you fucking kidding me?

    Seems legit~

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    1. I guess they had a limited budget? But I believe the whole theme of "killing one to save many" is quite widespread; generally, such questions make neurotypicals uncomfortable.

      I'm interested to see if they will replicate experiments like this on a larger scale though.

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    2. No, it's really not. Spoiled white people in universities do not represent a bulk of the human population.

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    3. If you are right, then it'd be interesting to see why people who grow up in middle class households become so weak willed. Perhaps it's because they've never needed to make any decisions all their lives?

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    4. generalization to counter a generalization?

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    5. Fine.

      Ask the average human being this question. You'll have to go to an impoverished part of a nation and find someone who makes less than $2 a day, and has seen more death in their childhood than most people will in a lifetime.

      Call it a generalization if you want, but if we're talking about the bulk of humanity, you can't cherry pick a few American university students and be taken seriously.

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    6. most well-off Westerners*, not most people. Haha. Look at me, slipping in accidental generalizations.

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    7. I don't think that killing one to save many is really much of a problem for most neurotypicals. I don't think killing one to save one is even much of a problem. I think the people most likely to say this are sociopaths viewing neurotypicals in a stereotypical way. Neurotypicals would probably have something else to say about this.

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    8. Hasn't anyone seen those movie scenes where the person is wearing a mad "I got you!" face as they kill or harm a murderer or someone else trying to do something? Kidding about using movie scenes as evidence.

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    9. I'm really surprised that this question was even used, I agree with the people (person?) above... I think most people would easily answer this question- shoot the person endangering others. And it does seem that people who would even wonder if this would be a hard question for others would be psychopaths.

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  4. can you make everyone die?
    is that an option?

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  5. I can see that this utilitarian thinking described in today's post has got me into serious trouble on many occasions throughout my life. I've found that I can decide on a course of action, that takes considerable preparation and effort to implement, only to later realize - due to the reaction of others - that it was in the extreme far more serious than I had realized. Even though on some intellectual level I was fully aware that my actions were wrong or illegal. It's like I'm missing the part that tells everyone else that an action will result in moral outrage.

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    1. The one that drives me nuts the most is the cabin full of people with the crying baby. If the baby is allowed to cry, the hunters break in and kill everyone. The only way to save everyone is suffocating the baby.

      A lot of people refuse to suffocate the baby, even knowing that the people hunting the group will kill all of them, the baby included.

      Empathy challenged or not, that makes no sense at all.

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    2. The fact is that most people are unable to think clearly because their emotions get in the way. They're unable to actually use logic when something is against their 'morals'.

      So what you say is absolutely correct; it makes no sense at all. Morality in general makes very little sense.

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    3. @Elicit

      I think the value in this study is for us. The sociopaths. I've been tripped up without realizing it on many occasions. Just recently I was interviewing for a job and the interviewer asked me about my interests. I told him about my interest in medicine and helping people. He asked me if I saw a girl who was hit by a car would I help help he because I wanted to or because I had to. I told him if I had the skills I would help her and if I didn't I would do nothing. I didn't understand the question and from a neurotypical's point of view I had just told him I would only help if I had to. It's only now months later that I realize he was vetting me and I had failed. I won't make that mistake again.

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    4. @tnp

      killing a baby is like killing the future. we sacrifice ourselves for children. the baby is worth dying for. the cabin example puts us in a position where we have to choose to sacrifice what we would die to protect. you have to consider that the hunters might break in and kill everyone anyway, or might not hear the baby crying if it's calmed down and stops, or might kill everyone but the baby.

      if the cabin was full of 80 year olds and one baby, who would you sacrifice? if the baby belonged to the leader of the country, who would you save? maybe the cabin full of people was trying to rescue this baby from certain death? if it was just an ordinary baby and you sacrificed it, how would you ever really know that it's crying would lead to your death? maybe someone would rescue the group in the cabin?

      the only way the cabin scenario leads to a logical conclusion that the baby must die is as a mind experiment where you can say with certainty that it's crying will lead to everyone's death. but in real life you rarely have that level of certainty.

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    5. No, Zoe. The scenario is that everyone dies.

      Baby included.

      It's not open for speculation.

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    6. Because it isn't. What's so fucking hard to comprehend? This isn't Hollywood. In the real world, ethnic cleansings and mass murder don't take a pause for babies.

      It's specifically in the scenario, stated. Everyone dies, or the baby dies. There is no wiggle room.

      Make the choice, Zoe.

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    7. i did. see below.

      by "why not?" i meant shouldn't a mind experiment reflect the reality that there will always be uncertainty at least within us?

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    8. The experiment is to measure how the brain reacts to the scenario. The outcome is assured.

      If you let the baby kill everyone, the baby included, you are a worthless, incredibly selfish waste of flesh.

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    9. TNP: The situation you describe here with the baby is very different, of course. This is no longer a decision about the life of the majority vs the life of the one, but a decision about the life of the majority vs the death of everyone. The real dilemma of the individual here is between maintaining life vs maintaining the illusion that human nature is (or should be) exclusively kind and benevolent. It isn't. So the ultimate facer here is strength vs weakness.

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    10. Stasis, if someone can't use reason because something is against their morals, they need new morals. That sounds like morals not based on the hurt, damage, or suffering of anyone or anything, or perhaps biased morals, or morals in need of rethinking.

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    11. Zoe, are the 10 non-baby people not the future too? So, 10 people should die for the baby because it hasn't become not-worth-dying-for yet?

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    12. anon, if the baby doesn't matter then we should be able to switch it with a hysterical adult. but the point of the cabin mind experiment is that it's a baby, and how we react to what the baby represents. if the baby doesn't matter, the answer is kill the baby. if the baby matters, all should be sacrificed as there is no future without it.

      so is the baby something invaluable, some place where we need to go, or something unformed and easily replaced?

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    13. suppose the people in the cabin are you and your family, which includes one crying baby? do you kill the baby or choose to die with it?

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  6. Wasn’t that the story line in the final episode of the once upon a time longest running series on TV – M*A*S*H - set in a medical unit deployed to the front lines of the Korean War that as urban legend has it - the series ran longer than the actual Korean War itself.

    From (admittedly) vague memory – it begins with the cynical yet ultimately altruistic and caring brilliant surgeon Hawkeye Peirce in a psychiatric ward discussing with his clinical observers the incident that led him to his subsequent breakdown.

    Hawkeye was travelling on a crowded civilian bus when a nearby Northern Korean platoon approached nearby. The entire bus managed to avoid detection but had to remain deadly silent as the platoon passed.

    Hawkeye was sat next to a family that were transporting some of the livestock and one particular ‘chicken’ was continuing to make a lot of noise when the rest of the bus sat in silence in a cold sweat – staring at the one American on the bus who was closest to the mortified South Korean peasant family.

    Long story short – it was actually a baby child and not a chicken that Hawkeye suffocated.

    It was a funnier show in the begining and had probably long since ‘jumped the shark’. As they say in TV industry parlance.

    BTW Having returned from a brief absence – I have a lot of reading from the previous days posts to catch up on. Looking forward this weekend to TNP’s ‘Take the Test’.

    However, for now, it’s enjoying finally some decent London weather on the balcony deck with some beers and friends and sounds. Apologies in advance if any of my replies are haphazard and eventually descending into drunken nonsense ; )

    I've actually already missed you guys. Bonkers.

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    1. I'd look forward to seeing your full test results. Most people just shared the numbers, or where they places, which doesn't paint the full picture for outside analysis to be possible.

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  7. 'It turns out that utilitarian judgments are sometimes valuable and important and that it's the normal people who have the deficit in making them and the sociopaths who excel.'

    This smugness is profoundly idiotic. Yes, utilitarian judgments are often valuable and important but the lense of utilitarian ethics with its focus on numbers (ie the happiness of more people is more important than the happiness of fewer people) often distorts or even removes the actual moral problem of the individual. Why is it so obvious that the life of the one, unsuspecting stranger on the track is worth less than the life of the five who have been tied up. Who is responsible for the fate of whom? If life should be valued as an intrinsically good thing (and that in itself is not that obvious), why do you assume it can be quantified? Are measurable consequences the marker of a moral decision, or is it the intention of the individual who makes it? And what or who has the authority to make a final judgement for the rest of us? I don’t claim (with regard to the trolley problem in particular) that either the one or the other decision is necessarily the better one, but that it is not as obvious as you seem to think it is. Rational thinking is not the same as shallow thinking.

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    1. I think you bring up one of the few valid counter arguments. Too bad it's stuck in the middle of a rant.

      How do we apply value to people on a per-human basis, especially for strangers?

      Do we judge them by what they wear? Their race? Their age? Maybe their face?

      I could definitely get behind the argument that one life could be more valuable than five, or even a buss full as someone mentioned earlier.

      It still is nit-picking though. Can you be the trigger man?

      I think I could. I'd probably feel like shit after the fact, and have to live with that baggage, but if it was five strangers versus one person, I wouldn't hesitate too much.

      If it was me versus five strangers, make no mistake. Fuck those guys, I'm choosing life.

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    2. I would not be the trigger man. I don’t see why I (or anyone) should be the arbiter for making a value judgment of who should live and who should die. If the five who have been tied up cannot be rescued unless I kill someone else, then I would prefer not to interfere with the fate of the five or the good fortune of the one. They will all die at some point in their lives, and it’s not obvious to me that anyone is in a good place to decide who should go first or how they should die. If the one stranger happened to be on the right track, perhaps his good fortune merits some respect.

      As you say though, it it were me or someone I care about vs the five strangers, I would certainly pull the trigger. But that’s survival urge, not the outcome of a moral dilemma.

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    3. Indeed Yellow, the first thing I thought was "why should I pull the trigger myself".
      I certainly wouldn't want to face the consequences of killing a man, even to save 4 people.
      But as you said, if it were me or someone close, I'd definatly do it, five or fifty people, it doesn't matter.

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    4. Knowing nothing about the people the reasonable assumption is that their lives are of equal worth.
      If however I knew the one guy was set to discover the cure for cancer or warp drive I wouldn’t pull it.
      I also have my self-interest to consider, if pulling it means I go to jail or get hunted down by the family of that one stranger I don’t care how important the five people are, unless of course I’m going to go to jail or get hunted by the families of the five people if I don’t do it.

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  8. kill'm all let god sort them out

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  9. After reading the 'take the test' post, I see a lot of traits that I just don't have. I'm not sadistic or cruel...I have no impulses in this direction.
    I have taken cruel revenge or taken certain actions to remove a problem when I don't see a better way to do it. But I don't relish it, or if I do it's only in very special circumstances where basically I think any 10 reasonable people would vote the fucker had it coming.

    But all this raises a question that obviously must get asked a lot and has no doube been treated here as well as elsewhere. I speak of 'what is a sociopath' and 'who is a sociopath'. It's hard to know if there is going to be much agreement.

    I noticed the blogger has a problem with mainstream definitions. Yet the blogger seems to have his own 'musts' in order to be sociopath. There is a lot of talk about wannabe sociopaths. Which to be fair, is reasonable since if there is a blog that sends up psychopathy and makes it look nice, of course there will be people who want to be like that but aren't. That's natural.

    But what isn't clear is whether the blogger likes it and wants it. There's a little bit of "ugh, can't you phonies just leave us alone to talk about how cool being a sociopath is"
    But then there's a little hint "hey stick around, I love you norms...I want you to love me which is why I only tell you about the cool side to being a socio"
    But then we're back to "...but hey...don't start making out you are like me....I want you to want to be like me...ugh.....I don't want you to want to be like me!"

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    1. bonner, people try by nature, to distinguish something with a rigid set of rules.

      The fact is, psychopaths have very specific brain abnormalities that can be seen on fMRIs. That's the only way to absolutely tell if someone is a psychopath or not.

      Some people, like Dr. Hare (a psychopathy expert) argue that a sociopath is distinguishable from a psychopath, and is more of a personality type. If we follow that rationale, then being a sociopath is not a binary thing. It more states a type of person than an actual medical condition. Think, Machiavellian.

      Yesterday's test was revealing, and it was to my chagrin that less people than I thought ended up participating, and even less posted their full results on a per trait basis.

      I would definitely be interested on such results for a mass sweep, but seeing as I'm not an active academic, let alone a specialist in the field, I doubt this test will ever leave the confines of the internet.

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  10. There is an episode of Star Trek- Next Generation that takes this one on. There is a renegade admiral or something that decides he will sacrifice lives to save more.. Picard rips him a new one. I think this is the greyest of grey areas. It's potential for abuse makes it one of the best examples of how a partnership between empathy/sociopath would be ideal.

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    1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibEJoNyDDgw

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    2. The only way a partnership between an empath/sociopath could ever be ideal is from an understanding that neither can give what the other needs/desires. An empath would have to have complete and total awareness of self with no expectations of sociopath and the sociopath would need to control impulses to manipulate empaths emotions.....in other words a mutual understanding/acceptance with no expectations or need fo draw something out from the other...I don't believe this can ever be so. They destroy each other

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    3. not true anon 6:51- lots of empaths prefer cats over dogs

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    4. The cats captivating and full of mystery but the dog is a loyal lover ......they may tire of the predictability of the dog but you can never take that need for a dog out of a true empath

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    5. The cats captivating and full of mystery but the dog is a loyal lover ......they may tire of the predictability of the dog but you can never take that need for a dog out of a true empath

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    6. The cats captivating and full of mystery but the dog is a loyal lover ......they may tire of the predictability of the dog but you can never take that need for a dog out of a true empath

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    7. Why do my comments appear 3 times when only published once?

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    8. that one didn't

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    9. Yeah.....But others do?????? Dunno

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    10. I must b a special haha

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    11. I must b a special haha

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    12. You are as high as iggy :)

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    13. You are as high as iggy :)

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    14. You are as high as iggy :)

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    15. Anon513, yes, that was a good episode.

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  11. Cheers to that Anonymous

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  12. I never realized what a narcissist I am :(

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    1. most narcs don't

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    2. GEEZ
      That test, yesterday, was a shock to me. I thought I was so good~

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    3. that makes one of us

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    4. That's because you are an especially covert narcissist who hides being a false face of piety and kindness. You project your abusive and mean nature onto others. The repeated clashes you have with so called mal narcs are you lashing out at the innocent who displease you in some way. You are a person of the lie, Monica.

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    5. blah blah blah Eden.

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    6. Feeding your delusions and projections isn't going to help you, anon 9:48 is right, you have to be faced with the truth every day until you realise it. you realised you were a narcissist, that's one good step already.

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    7. Monica, that anon was me, not Eden. You still see her in every anon that says something you don't like. This is part of your craziness. You demonize people and project everything negative onto them. Like good fellow says, you must continue to face the truth if you are to make progress.

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    8. Why don't you say who you are, Ell? Eden/Extremity rides me, but she is in good company because I, always, have a few jealous woman on my ass~

      At any rate, I have a new quote. Tell me what you think. This is a result of facing my Narcissism and talking to my mother again and she admitting some of her own Narcissism.


      "You are gonna be hated anyway, so you might as well have your own dignity and self respect"
      Monica Moo

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    9. Hi. May I ask some questions?

      i have a friend whose therapist once suspected she is borderline. But really I do not think so. SHe no longer has mood problems. SHe was misdiagnosed as hard to treat bipolar and on unnecessary medicines. She does not have the abandonment issues and the rage so I don't thik she is borderline.

      She had depression and wants to write a blog to show others how she has kicked it.

      But This friend talks with a bunch of disdain for others. We go see events and she disses the participants (they have her vocation and past aspirations. She could not handle it) It is her reaction formation in my opinion.

      I have noticed she puts me down with her pointing out my vulnerabilities, faults, weaknesses, what have you. Then tells me (brags)her father and mother gave her confidence and showed her she is entitled. SHe is very snobby sometimes.

      I called the police on her because she threatened suicide once.

      I keep thinking that maybe she is a narcissist. She asked me what "that was" when she did that suicide threat. I cannot tell her because she always comments on OTHER people's narcissism (not mine, as I refrain from joining with her or giving her any ammunition. She has pity for me! juI guess I'm ok about since she knows about me.)

      She asked me if I hold back telling her things about herself and I told her yes.

      What do you think of that? I mean I really like her . I told her she gets off on pushing my buttons and she tells me she does that shit because she is so concerned for me. I do not necessarily believer her. She will start to cry "for me" and I feel it is just a teensy bit of BS.

      Once she videotaped me for a project and asked me personal questions, then told me she thought people would fall in love with my honesty about my vulnerabilities. I felt objectified by her although i thought she was being kind of generous but really. I think she gets off on her assessments of me.

      DOes anyone have a friends like that in their life?

      Medusa, or Monica, have you ever been accused of such behavior (her) or been on the receiving end of it (me)

      Is Kany like that??

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    10. I don't do that. I try to act perfect~
      My sense of this is that you "need to be punished" I get a sense that you have masochism

      Hey, we all have something ( especially on here)Ell likes to throw things in my face but when you point a finger, you have three pointing back at you ~

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    11. Why don't you say who you are, Ell?

      Says Ami, Erin, Caroline, Monica, Frank, Hank, Gary, Snake, Zeze, and the Fomentiles. Have I missed many? How many fingers is that pointing back at you?

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    12. @anon

      your friend is a narcissist and you are her sidekick. i had acquaintances like that, very critical, centre of attention, ever sniping ever unsatisfied put down artists. i got tired of waiting for them to grow up. they can't. you have to decide if it's worth it. their entertaining view of reality and vs. the inevitable mental drain of being around them.

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    13. Zoe pretty much nailed it. You are definitely a Narcissist's sidekick.

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    14. This is what people forget on here. We are all effed up, in one form or another. The form may be different is all.

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    15. I, always, have a few jealous woman on my ass~

      A good narcissist will always convince themselves that jealousy is the only explanation.

      I have a friend who believes there is nothing about her to dislike. She says that anytime she finds out that someone doesn't like her, she figures it is because they either don't know her very well yet, or they misunderstand her as a person.

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    16. Thank you very much zoe and monica and anon and TNP!
      What the hell is a narcissist's sidekick?? Is this a person they can look down upon so they can prop themselves up? I attract these people so they can feel good or something? I think They come in droves. I have a few in my life. They feel all concerned about you then tell you they feel so sad for you. I didn't ask for sympathy or concern. i shared. Once they do this a few times i am closed to them. Just shut down. I stop being vulnerable with them and then they start to feel like i did something wrong to them by withdrawing. they say they want to spend time, they follow me home, they wan me to socialize with them. then they ask what's wrong and tell me I am distant. Then I have to say oh just not feeling great that is all. I lie because i do not want to offend them. /i know if i criticize it will be just blah blah bah . I know they will get defensive and feel bad about themselves if i tell them. They will say I am so wrong. Ha.

      Has anyone caught "web therapy?"

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    17. yes sidekick = willing prop. if you watch your words because they are easily offended it could be a narcissist. :)

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    18. Anon 2:48
      Were you beaten down as a child and had to roll over to a mother who wore the pants?

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    19. Yes, Monica. The constant rolling over made me very angry and I desperately needed validation at a very young age that my anger was normal response.


      When I could not write a paper in school she stayed up all night to do it. She did not want me to fail because it would make her look bad. SHe got A+s and was so braggy. On the other hand, she would show me off for the exceptional things I did. THen we'd get home and she would criticize.

      one time, later on in life, I had gone back to college and I was asked to join a very prestigious academic club. It made me feel so good. WHen I told her, she scoffed and then asked "how much money do they want?" I could not believe it.

      She will always pull out a whammy if I am happy. It never fails. I had to learn and learn and learn over and over not to give her any ammo.

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    20. I am glad I saw your response, Anon. Yes, I have learned that you can get an accurate mirror of the past by looking at the present. There is a famous quote about that. "There is no present. There is no future. It is the past, repeating.

      I, recently, saw this truth, with my gut. Head knowledge does no good. Look at some people on here. They can spout head knowledge all day, but walk out their doors and they are fools.

      That is why I listen for wisdom, not mere intellectual understanding.

      Back to you, I could hear the repitition. You will pick people to repeat until you have a gut level change. If you try to have just an intellectual( going to a shrink and spouting BS) change, you will pick the same person, over and over.

      Then, you will have this quote. "Same whore, different dress" ~

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    21. thank you. i am always on the lookout for making sure i am not getting into things where i am too much bending and pleasing, for acceptance or otherwise. that is why i like the shitlist twitter remark. i don't enjoy to bend and please. it was never on my bus route, know what i'm sayin?

      but there are times i really enjoy to give. this is where i have to make sure that i do justice when trying to find grey areas. my thinking is sometimes distorted so it is difficult to see where grey is not correct choice.

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    22. Yes, I hear you. By the time I figure all this out, I will be too old and feeble to use it~

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    23. To us, with false selves *clink* :

      "It's never too late to be who you might have been"

      -George Eliot





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    24. Were it so easy, Anon *sigh*

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    25. you just have to stop trying to fix the other person. narcissists need only underdogs. if you don't want to be one you have to give up the narcissists and stop playing to them. easy peasy. actually it's amazing to see how fast they vanish when you stop playing to them. first they get mad, attack, and if that doesn't work they vanish poof!

      also, it was partly your "fault" for playing to them in the first place. as unfair as that seems, accepting that you made it possible is the only way to move on. by accepting that you made it possible, that means you can also put a stop to it.

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    26. YEs.

      I find a narcissist easy to please. Maybe I take the easy way out when choosing my mates.

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    27. in my case it was the familiar way out.

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  13. This kind of thinking is based on believing you can tell the future with absolute certainty which is almost never true

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    1. It's an exercise in morality, not open for outside probabilities.

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    2. then my answer is let the baby cry and if we die we all die.

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    3. some things are worth dying for

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    4. It's not an if.

      And who are you to execute all the other people?

      That's what you're doing. You do realize that, don't you?

      Why is letting some fledgling child kill everyone more important everyone with you? How fucking stupid are you?

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    5. I can't even see what's difficult about the decision. It's not even a person yet. It's just a human larva. It won't even be aware that it must be sacrificed so the people can live.

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    6. I don't think this stupid bitch realizes that she's condemning everyone else to death. It's not a democratic choice, she's making the executive decision to kill them all. All she's thinking about is a baby, and it's not even her own baby, just a baby.

      I can't even fathom that level of stupidity and selfishness.

      Delete
    7. why does it make you angry? are you trying to evoke an emotional response from me or are you being emotional? i can't tell.

      anyway, let's say we kill the baby. how many people are we saving exactly? 100, 1000, 50, 2? or just one? do you see yourself in the cabin? see, if you're going to put a value only to numbers and dismiss all other variables, the numbers should matter. if it's worth sacrificing a baby to save 1000 people, then shouldn't it be worth saving only 2 people also? or is there some cut-off? what about one other person in the cabin?

      here is my question to you.. if there are only two people in a cabin and one is a crying baby and both will be killed if the baby isn't sacrificed, should the baby be killed? why should two die when one can live?

      Delete
    8. you know the baby represents the beliefs that we are willing to kill to preserve status quo, right?

      sheeple mentality. but i like you tnp. :)

      Delete
    9. Originally your point, Zoe, if I am correct in my interpretation, is that you believe the baby is more valuable because it is the future. The future of what? All of mankind? Is this baby the messiah?
      Now you're twisting it to into a pretzel from what I can tell. Lets stick to your original point, shall we? How does one life go up in value based on age?

      What things are worth dying for? Are you a messiah? Does your death insure the security of the future for all of mankind?

      Delete
    10. Does your death insure the security of the future for all of mankind?

      If it does I would like your address please. :)

      Delete
    11. Even if it was just you and the baby, if would still be stupid to let it get you AND the baby killed.

      Don't you get it? It's a no-win versus partial win situation.

      If the baby cries, everyone dies. If the baby dies, everyone else lives. There is no middle ground.

      How many more ways do I have to explain it? How fucking dumb are you?

      Delete
    12. then everyone dies

      you can't reduce life to simple math

      Delete
    13. What's so bad about dying? You'll never know until you try it.

      Delete
    14. @anon 2

      in way it does as i would be freeing up resources

      @anon 1

      you're thinking too literally

      Delete
    15. @tnp

      the problem with sacrificing the baby is you have to live on in a world where babies are sacrificed. there isn't a right answer.

      ok lightly different scenario. anon 1, let's say instead of the baby we have you in the cabin and you have tourette's and are making a whole lot of noise. we can't get you to stop. should we kill you? would you sacrifice yourself as easily as the baby?

      Delete
    16. If I had tourette's I would want to kill myself. Bad example Zoe. Why would you ask a bunch of narcissistic people if they would sacrifice themselves?

      Delete
    17. then not a valid scenario if you can't see yourself as the baby.

      Delete
    18. okay then switch baby for loud narcissist. does he die?

      Delete
    19. Would the answer matter? You are only able to see this in theory. I can only see this in theory. In theory, we always think we know what we would choose. But in a fight or flight situation, logic and morality go out the window. It may just come down to impulse either way. You might choose to kill the baby because the drive to survive overwhelmed everything else in your being, and live to regret what your impulse drove you to do.

      Easy to look at it from the safety of your comfortable life.

      Delete
    20. You're an idiot, Zoe. If you'd rather die than live outside of proper civilization, then by all means, an hero for us.

      Delete
    21. i thought this was moral judgement without emotion?

      i don't understand the point of the exercise. it's not realistic. i can't take it seriously.

      a better one might be: if there was an accident and 11 people were trapped, one a baby, and you could either save 10 people or the baby, which would you save? this is where that it's a baby factors in, because if it were an eleventh adult the answer is a no brainer.

      Delete
    22. I wouldn't save either of them, I would just watch them all die. :D

      Delete
    23. But yeah, It'd be ridiculous to get yourself killed and all your friends including the baby instead of just strangling the baby, but most people aren't capable of doing it. And even after you've done it, you have to live with yourself if you have remorse.

      Delete
    24. That's a silly question to me Zoe. I would save the 10 people, not the baby. That's easy. Now... to save 10 babies, or one person... hmm. :p

      Delete
    25. I think even with people who think kids are worth so much more than adults that would be a no brainer.

      Delete
  14. Monica, is this considered codependence?

    http://ourlighterside.com/stuff/loneliness-poverty/

    ReplyDelete
  15. I want to start my own blog.......any start up info would be helpful....Wordpress? Google? Suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
  16. Why not just stuff a tit or two in the baby's mouth to shut it up? I love how the only option here is to kill or not to kill :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not one of the options per the test. You get two, and only two.

      It's not meant to test what is the best way to go about handling the situation, it's meant to probe how the brain reacts to it.

      Delete
    2. hey tnp, do u still have an e-mail? I'd like to talk to you about something but I don't know if you wanna. My e-mail is the same.

      Delete
    3. I just sent off an email to the last one you contacted me with.

      Delete
    4. don't bother next time.

      Delete
    5. Exactly my point. Tests like this are garbage. It all boils down to who has the balls to say, on the record, how they would react. No one knows until it happens, and it will not happen with a stipulation that you only have 2 ways to progress. It's research targeted on proving someone's hypothesis. By the way, I am willing to bet a lot of money that the hunters are going to search the fucking cabin anyway.

      Delete
  17. What makes you think most would have a problem pulling the trigger, M.E.? I disagree there... I think I'm an odd one out in having trouble doing it. I think you are viewing empaths through a pre-ordered veil and so you just assume most would. Plenty are willing to kill one person to save one person with some ATTITUDE added if they are witnessing what they are trying to do.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Emotion isn't the only reason humans are unable to make strict utilitarian judgments correctly... it's also limits in intelligence... calculating the consequences and the benefits to each, etc.
    Anyway, I agree that sociopaths would not have a problem with making utilitarian decisions, but not that "normal" people automatically have a decifit. Sometimes, sure. I'm not saying not in any situation. But in the specific decision here? No. It depends on the individual, definitely.
    Sociopaths wouldn't have a PROBLEM... but having a reason to make a decision for the "greater good" or the best outcome is another thing...

    ReplyDelete
  19. "Damage"? There they go uncritically endorsing normality as the way people should be. Why not call it "enhancement"? Science is supposed to be neutral on should questions and yet psychiatry makes all kinds of "Should" recommendations without even bothering to defend them implying that the way people should be just goes without saying.

    If people were more utilitarian it would solve a lot of our problems. Why isn't neurology or psychiatry open to the possibility that there may be more advantageous ways of thinking other than normal? Why isn't the question of genetic enhancement to a more utilitarian mindset not raised?

    ReplyDelete

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