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​救救孩子!人性的十大阴暗面……

​救救孩子!人性的十大阴暗面……


我们翻译这篇文章的理由


我觉得,人性究竟是善是恶,其实并不要紧——生物本性,生出来就这样,是没有所谓善和恶的。但是,这不等于我们可以对人性「放任自流」,仅仅按照本能来生活。未经审视的生活是不值得过的,只有了解、理解人性(像这篇文章一样),才有可能走出无知蒙昧之恶,让人性走向良善。当然还有另一种选项:理解了人性,但依然做坏事,这属于明知故犯,就是真正的邪恶啦👿


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救救孩子!人性的十大阴暗面


作者:Christian Jarrett

译者:赵萌萌 & 邹世昌

校对:邵海灵

策划:赵萌萌 & 周伍豪


The bad news on human nature, in 10 findings from psychology

人性的十大阴暗面


It’s a question that’s reverberated through the ages – are humans, though imperfect, essentially kind, sensible, good-natured creatures? Or are we, deep down, wired to be bad, blinkered, idle, vain, vengeful and selfish? There are no easy answers, and there’s clearly a lot of variation between individuals, but here we shine some evidence-based light on the matter through 10 dispiriting findings that reveal the darker and less impressive aspects of human nature: 

几个世纪以来,这个问题一直引人深思——人虽不完美,但其本质究竟是善良、理智、温和的,还是自私狭隘懒惰、无知、有仇必报、生性邪恶的?很难给这个问题下定论,人与人之间的不同之处太多了。但以下十个令人沮丧的发现——发现人性更为黑暗且不受待见的一面——或许能为这个问题提供一些有理有据的答案。

Blinkered /blɪŋkɚd/ adj  unable to understand or recognize sth; narrow-minded 不能了解或不能认识某事物的,心胸狭窄的

idle /ˋaɪdl/ adj (of people) avoiding work; lazy (指人)无所事事的,懒散的,懒惰的


We view minorities and the vulnerable as less than human. One striking example of this blatant dehumanisation came from a brain-scan study that found a small group of students exhibited less neural activity associated with thinking about people when they looked at pictures of the homeless or of drug addicts, as compared with higher-status individuals. Another study showed that people who are opposed to Arab immigration tended to rate Arabs and Muslims as literally less evolved than average. Among other examples, there’s also evidence that young people dehumanise older people; and that men and women alike dehumanise drunk women. What’s more, the inclination to dehumanise starts early – children as young as five view out-group faces (of people from a different city or a different gender to the child) as less human than in-group faces.

在我们看来,少数族裔和弱势群体是低于人类的存在。关于这种明目张胆的非人化,一个令人震惊的例子是:一项大脑扫描研究发现,参与实验的一小群学生看到社会地位较高的人的照片时,会产生很多关于人的联想,但在看到流浪汉或者瘾君子的照片时,与这些联想相关的神经活动就会减少。另一项研究表明,反对阿拉伯移民的人会认为阿拉伯人与穆斯林“还没进化好”。其他例子中有证据显示年轻人会将老年人非人化;男性与女性都会将醉酒的女性非人化。此外,这种将他人非人化的倾向开始得很早——年仅五岁的小孩子就会认为,与他社交圈里的人相比,来自不同城市或是不同性别的人不是“标配”的人类。

dehumanisation [diːˌhjuːmənaɪˈzeɪʃən] the process of depriving a person of human qualities. 不把他人视为人类,诋毁他人不如人类


We experience Schadenfreude (pleasure at another person’s distress) by the age of four, according to a study from 2013. That sense is heightened if the child perceives that the person deserves the distress. A more recent study found that, by age six, children will pay to watch an antisocial puppet being hit, rather than spending the money on stickers.

我们在四岁就会幸灾乐祸了(将自己的快乐建立在别人的痛苦之上)。2013年的一项研究表明,如果孩子认为那个人活该,那这种快乐就会增加。之后还有一项研究表明,孩子在六岁时会花钱看那些表现反社会的玩偶被打,而不会把钱花在买贴纸上。

译者注:研究论文题目为《How infants and toddlers react to antisocial others?》,研究实验共有五部分,分别研究了婴儿与幼童对表现反社会的玩偶作何反应。实验一的具体过程为:让6个月大与8个月大的婴儿观察一个动物玩偶能否打开箱子,并抓住里面沙沙作响的东西。另外还有其他两个玩偶参与这个过程,一个是表现亲社会的玩偶,它帮助动物人偶打开箱子取出箱中物品;另外一个是表现反社会的人偶,它压在箱盖上,不让动物玩偶取到箱中物品。实验结果表明,婴儿明显喜欢表现亲社会的玩偶。


We believe in karma – assuming that the downtrodden of the world deserve their fate. The unfortunate consequences of such beliefs were first demonstrated in the now classic research from 1966 by the American psychologists Melvin Lerner and Carolyn Simmons. In their experiment, in which a female learner was punished with electric shocks for wrong answers, women participants subsequently rated her as less likeable and admirable when they heard that they would be seeing her suffer again, and especially if they felt powerless to minimise this suffering. Since then, research has shown our willingness to blame the poor, rape victims, AIDS patients and others for their fate, so as to preserve our belief in a just world. By extension, the same or similar processes are likely responsible for our subconscious rose-tinted view of rich people.

我们相信因果报应——认为那些现世遭受痛苦的人是罪有应得。这种想法产生的不幸结果在1966年的一次经典研究中首次显明出来,这项研究由美国心理学家梅尔文·勒纳与卡洛琳·西蒙斯进行。在他们的实验中,一位女性实验者因回答错误受到电击,其他女性被试知道自己还会看到这位女性遭受痛苦,尤其是她们无力改善现状后,就自然而然地认为这位女性不讨人喜欢。此后,研究表明我们总会指责穷人、强奸受害者、艾滋病患者和其他人,认为他们的不幸是罪有应得。当然了,同样或类似的逻辑也可以解释我们为什么会潜意识地对富人投以青眼。

译者注:公正世界理论或公正世界谬误(Just-World Theory/Hypothesis),亦称公平世界假定,是认知偏误的一种。这个假说由美国心理学家梅尔文·勒纳所提出,相信的人假设了这个世界是公平公正的,因此运作模式总是“善有善报,恶有恶报”,坏事不降临在好人身上,所以若某人遭遇不幸事件,则他做了坏事,恶有恶报,反之亦然,但事实可能并非如此,因而犯了逻辑学上的非形式谬误。


We are blinkered and dogmatic. If people were rational and open-minded, then the straightforward way to correct someone’s false beliefs would be to present them with some relevant facts. However a classic study from 1979 showed the futility of this approach – participants who believed strongly for or against the death penalty completely ignored facts that undermined their position, actually doubling-down on their initial view. This seems to occur in part because we see opposing facts as undermining our sense of identity. It doesn’t help that many of us are overconfident about how much we understand things and that, when we believe our opinions are superior to others, this deters us from seeking out further relevant knowledge.

我们都狭隘偏执如果人是理性开明的,那纠正别人错误认知的直接方式就是向他们展示相关事实是什么。然而,1979年的经典研究表明这样做是徒劳的——强烈支持或反对死刑的被试都完全忽视了不利于他们所持观点的事实,反而进一步加强了他们本来的观点。之所以会出现这样的情况,原因之一是我们认为这些与观点相冲突的事实在破坏我们的身份认同。此外,很多人都过于自信,觉得我们已经知道得够透彻了;还有人觉得自己的想法优于他人,这就使得他们满足现状,不再了解其他相关知识。这些想法都是在帮倒忙。

dogmatic [dɒgˈmæt.ɪk] adj. If someone is dogmatic, they are certain that they are right and that everyone else is wrong.


We would rather electrocute ourselves than spend time in our own thoughts. This was demonstrated in a controversial 2014 study in which 67 per cent of male participants and 25 per cent of female participants opted to give themselves unpleasant electric shocks rather than spend 15 minutes in peaceful contemplation.

我们就算把自己电死也不想自处。2014年一项充满争议的研究证明了这个发现。67%的男性被试与25%的女性被试宁愿让自己接受电击,也不愿意进行15分钟的冥想。


We are vain and overconfident. Our irrationality and dogmatism might not be so bad were they married to some humility and self-insight, but most of us walk about with inflated views of our abilities and qualities, such as our driving skills, intelligence and attractiveness – a phenomenon that’s been dubbed the Lake Wobegon Effect after the fictional town where ‘all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average’. Ironically, the least skilled among us are the most prone to overconfidence (the so-called Dunning-Kruger effect). This vain self-enhancement seems to be most extreme and irrational in the case of our morality, such as in how principled and fair we think we are. In fact, even jailed criminals think they are kinder, more trustworthy and honest than the average member of the public.

我们自命不凡且过于自信。如果我们能在自己的不可理喻和独断专行中融入一些谦卑和自省,情况或许没有那么糟糕。但是,我们大多数人都会过于夸大自己的能力和品质,比如驾驶技巧、智慧、吸引力。这一现象被称为沃比根湖效应,它源于一个虚构的小镇,在那里,“所有女人都很强壮,所有男人都很好看,所有孩子都在平均水平之上”。具有讽刺意味的是,我们当中最缺乏技能的人最容易过度自信(所谓的邓宁-克鲁格效应)。这种徒劳无功的自我拔高,在我们的道德方面,比如我们认为自己多么有原则、多么公正,似乎是最极端、最不合理的。事实上,即使是被监禁的罪犯也认为他们比普通大众更善良、更值得信赖、更诚实。


We are moral hypocrites. It pays to be wary of those who are the quickest and loudest in condemning the moral failings of others – the chances are that moral preachers are as guilty themselves, but take a far lighter view of their own transgressions. In one study, researchers found that people rated the exact same selfish behaviour (giving themselves the quicker and easier of two experimental tasks on offer) as being far less fair when perpetuated by others. Similarly, there is a long-studied phenomenon known as actor-observer asymmetry, which in part describes our tendency to attribute other people’s bad deeds, such as our partner’s infidelities, to their character, while attributing the same deeds performed by ourselves to the situation at hand. These self-serving double standards could even explain the common feeling that incivility is on the increase – recent research shows that we view the same acts of rudeness far more harshly when they are committed by strangers than by our friends or ourselves.

我们是道德上的伪君子对那些最快、最大声地谴责他人道德有问题的人保持警惕是有好处的。道德说教者很可能也会有同样的罪过,但对自己的罪过却看得轻得多。在一项研究中,研究人员发现,人们认为完全相同的自私行为(在提供给自己的两项实验任务中,选择那个更快、更容易完成的任务)如果是由他人施加给自己的,那就非常不公平。同样,有一种被长期研究的现象叫“行为者—观察者不对称”,这种现象在一定程度上描述了我们倾向于将他人的不良行为(比如伴侣的不忠行为)归因于他人的品格,而将自己所做的相同行为归因于当时的客观情况。这些自私的双重标准甚至可以解释一种普遍的感觉,即无礼行为正在增加——最近的研究表明,当陌生人做出同样的无礼行为时,我们会比我们的朋友或我们自己更加严厉地对待。

hypocrite [ˈhɪpəˌkrɪt] If you accuse someone of being a hypocrite, you mean that they pretend to have qualities, beliefs, or feelings that they do not really have. 伪君子


We are all potential trolls. As anyone who has found themselves in a spat on Twitter will attest, social media might be magnifying some of the worst aspects of human nature, in part due to the online disinhibition effect, and the fact that anonymity (easy to achieve online) is known to increase our inclinations for immorality. While research has suggested that people who are prone to everyday sadism (a worryingly high proportion of us) are especially inclined to online trolling, a study published last year revealed how being in a bad mood, and being exposed to trolling by others, double the likelihood of a person engaging in trolling themselves. In fact, initial trolling by a few can cause a snowball of increasing negativity, which is exactly what researchers found when they studied reader discussion on CNN.com, with the ‘proportion of flagged posts and proportion of users with flagged posts … rising over time’.

我们都是潜在的喷子。任何有过在推特上与人发生小争端经历的人可能有这种体会:社会媒体可能会放大人性的一些阴暗面。造成这一现象的部分原因在于网络的抑制解除效应,以及由于匿名(在网络上很容易实现)而助长了我们违反道德的倾向。虽然有调查表明,倾向于日常施虐的人(这类人比例不小),会更倾向于在网上作恶。去年发表的一项研究显示,如果一个人心情不好,且被其他人恶搞,那就会让这个人自虐的可能性增加一倍。事实上,一些人最初的恶意攻击会导致负面情绪像雪球一样越滚越大,正如研究人员在研究CNN网站上读者讨论时所发现的那样,“被举报的帖子比例和曾被举报的用户比例……会随着时间的推移而上升”。


We favour ineffective leaders with psychopathic traits. The American personality psychologist Dan McAdams recently concluded that the US President Donald Trump’s overt aggression and insults have a ‘primal appeal’, and that his ‘incendiary Tweets’ are like the ‘charging displays’ of an alpha male chimp, ‘designed to intimidate’. If McAdams’s assessment is true, it would fit into a wider pattern – the finding that psychopathic traits are more common than average among leaders. Take the survey of financial leaders in New York that found they scored highly on psychopathic traits but lower than average in emotional intelligence. A meta-analysis published this summer concluded that there is indeed a modest but significant link between higher trait psychopathy and gaining leadership positions, which is important since psychopathy also correlates with poorer leadership.

我们喜欢有心理病态特征的无能领导。美国人格心理学家丹•麦克亚当斯最近得出结论称,美国总统唐纳德•特朗普的公然挑衅和侮辱具有“原始吸引力”,他的“煽动性推文”就像一只雄性大猩猩的“冲锋表演”,“意在恐吓”。如果麦克亚当斯的评估是正确的,那么这将适用于一个更广泛的模式——在领导者中,精神病态性格比一般人更普遍。以纽约的金融领袖为例,他们在心理变态方面得分很高,但情商低于平均水平。今年夏天发表的一项荟萃分析得出结论,在更高特质的精神病患者和获得领导职位之间确实存在适度但显著的联系。这一点很重要,因为精神病患者也与较差的领导能力有关。

incendiary [ɪnˈsendieri] Incendiary weapons or attacks are ones that cause large fires. 煽动的;纵火的


We are sexually attracted to people with dark personality traits. Not only do we elect people with psychopathic traits to become our leaders, evidence suggests that men and women are sexually attracted, at least in the short term, to people displaying the so-called ‘dark triad’ of traits – narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism – thus risking further propagating these traits. One study found that a man’s physical attractiveness to women was increased when he was described as self-interested, manipulative and insensitive. One theory is that the dark traits successfully communicate ‘mate quality’ in terms of confidence and the willingness to take risks. Does this matter for the future of our species? Perhaps it does – another paper, from 2016, found that those women who were more strongly attracted to narcissistic men’s faces tended to have more children.

黑暗性格的人对我们更具性爱方面的吸引力。我们不仅选择具有精神病态特征的人成为我们的领导者,而且有证据表明,至少在短期内,男性和女性都会被那些表现出所谓“黑暗三位一体”特征的人——自恋、精神变态和马基雅维利主义——所吸引,从而有可能进一步传播这些特征。一项研究发现,当男人被描述为自私、控制欲强、感觉迟钝时,他对女性的吸引力会增加。有一种理论认为,黑暗特质成功地传达了“伴侣品质”的信息,即自信和愿意承担风险。这对我们人类的未来有关系吗?也许是有的——另一篇2016年的论文发现,那些更容易被自恋男性的脸所吸引的女性往往会生更多的孩子。

narcissistic [ˌnɑrsɪˈsɪstɪk] If you describe someone as narcissistic, you disapprove of them because they think about themselves a lot and admire themselves too much. 自恋的


Don’t get too down – these findings say nothing of the success that some of us have had in overcoming our baser instincts. In fact, it is arguably by acknowledging and understanding our shortcomings that we can more successfully overcome them, and so cultivate the better angels of our nature.

不要太沮丧——这些发现并不能否认我们中的一些人已经成功地克服了我们的本能。事实上,通过承认和理解自身的缺点,我们才能更成功地克服它们,从而培养我们本性中更为良善的那一面。


​救救孩子!人性的十大阴暗面……

  • 本文原载于 Aeon

  • 原文链接:https://aeon.co/ideas/the-bad-news-on-human-nature-in-10-findings-from-psychology



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