People attribute minds to robots, corpses that are targets of harm

As Descartes famously noted, there's no way to really know that another person has a mind—every mind we observe is, in a sense, a mind we create. Now, new research suggests that victimization may be one condition that leads us to perceive minds in others, even in entities we don't normally think of as having minds.

This research, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for , shows that people attribute minds to entities they perceive as being targets of harm, even when the entity in question is a robot or a .

"People seem to believe that having a allows an entity to be part of a moral interaction—to do good and bad things, or to have good and bad things done to them," says psychological scientist Adrian Ward, who conducted the research at Harvard University.

"This research suggests that the relationship may actually work the other way around: Minds don't create morality, morality creates minds."

Ward, together with Daniel Wegner of Harvard University and Andrew Olsen of the University of Pennsylvania, conducted five studies that investigated the relationship between morality and mind. The results consistently revealed that participants attributed 'more' mind to entities portrayed as targets of intentional harm.

For example, participants who read a story about a nurse who intentionally unplugged the to a patient in a attributed more mind to the patient than those who read that the performed her job satisfactorily. Participants also attributed more mind to a corpse when they read that it had been the target of harm.

Participants even attributed more mind to a George, a "highly complex ," when they read that George had been stabbed with a scalpel by a research scientist.

Surprisingly, people attributed "full" minds to entities when they were the targets of moral harm—minds capable not just of experiencing harm, but also capable of experiencing emotions, feeling hunger, exerting self-control, and planning for the future.

Ward believes that the findings may help to explain how two people can look at the same entity—for example, a fetus, a comatose patient, a gorilla, or a lab rat—and see completely different capacities for thinking, feeling, and general consciousness:

"When these entities are thought of in moral terms, they're attributed more mind—it seems that people have the sense that something wrong is happening, so someone must be there to receive that wrong."

Importantly, the results of the final study suggest that the effects of harm may depend on the preexisting mental status of the victim in question.

Participants who read that Sharon, a fully conscious adult human, was physically abused by her boss attributed less mind to Sharon than participants who read that her boss behaved normally. They attributed less ability to experience pain and less mind overall to Sharon, falling in line with previous research on dehumanization.

"Victimization may cause people to dehumanize other entities—but only when these entities have a mind to begin with; entities with absent or liminal minds, in contrast, seem to gain minds as a result of victimization," the researchers write.

The research may have implications for hot-button issues centered on morality and mind, including issues surrounding animal rights, abortion, and end-of-life decisions. If moral intuitions lead to subjective perceptions of minds, investigating the objective realities of mental capacities is unlikely to resolve moral disagreements over what the 'right' course of action is.

Ward hopes to further explore how the so-called harm-made mind might influence actual decision making:

"Exploring this relationship will allow us to understand how different ways of presenting and discussing information about minds and may help people see eye-to-eye on contentious issues, and potentially come to a place of mutual understanding."

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tadchem
5 / 5 (1) Jun 17, 2013
People also attribute 'minds' to animals, plants, non-living objects, and even natural phenomena such as weather. Such is the ancient origin of animism - arguably the oldest religion.
At its root, the phenomenon is the result of the compulsion of the human mind to find patterns in the environment and thereby become able to deal with things.
By deciding that something other than one's self is *like* oneself, ("projective identification" in the psychology books), the mind builds a 'model' of the other thing that is fully known and predictable, even if the corrsepondence is erroneous.
Very reassuring, even if it's wrong...
freethinking
3 / 5 (4) Jun 17, 2013
Nazis dehumanized Jews, made Jews a threat, all to make it easy to kill Jews.
Abortionists dehumanize unborn babies, make them a threat to the perceived welfare of the mother.
HealingMindN
not rated yet Jun 17, 2013
OK, I'm trying to get a handle on this. Therefore, in my mind, according to Ward, I would have a bigger moral obligation to an unborn fetus than to Sharon - because I attribute more of a mind to the unborn fetus? Really? If I'm compelled to protect an innocent life, how does that factor into Ward's Robot Zombie research?
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Jun 17, 2013
"Nazis dehumanized Jews, made Jews a threat, all to make it easy to kill Jews.
Abortionists dehumanize unborn babies, make them a threat to the perceived welfare of the mother" -ft

No, religionists humanize things like bleeding madonna statues and zygotes and call people who rightly think otherwise, evil.

They also tend to dehumanize apostates and unbelievers and enemy religionists because their books tell them this is ok and noble and honorable and godly. They read about joshua and think that genocide is acceptable. In certain extreme examples mind you. Like in bosnia and Belfast.

And they read how god says it is ok to stone disrespectful children.

"9 "'Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death. Because they have cursed their father or mother, their blood will be on their own head."

-And so forth. Religionists are the worlds premier dehumanists.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Jun 18, 2013
At its root, the phenomenon is the result of the compulsion of the human mind to find patterns in the environment and thereby become able to deal with things.

While I agree that there is a tendency to want to find patterns (in order to have situations under control - or at the very least predictable) I think there's another thing going on here.

Humans have (like many animals) the capability for empathy (which is more than a predictive tool). And for empathy to work it has to be applicable to stuff that is vaguely similar to our own experinces. The more like ourselves something is the more empathy we can feel towards it. This extends not only to physical similarity but also situational similarity.

The 'vague' part is the issue why empathy sometime gets applied to situations where it logically doesn't make sense. As always: employ a catch-all/general system and you will get specific circumstances when it gives 'bad' answers. (But that goes for all emotions - not just empathy)
freethinking
3.4 / 5 (5) Jun 18, 2013
Otto, you rants against Christians don't hold water I know you love misquoting the bible, taking things out of context, etc. you follow the rule of the cultists, take one verse out of context
. Madonna statues, are just statues. Fools who personify a piece of stone are just fools, find in the bible where we are told to personify a piece of stone.

A unborn baby. Lets see, It is Human, It is an unique individual, yet people like you have no problems sticking a scissor into it's head, or ripping its arms and legs off one limb at a time, then crushing its skull to stop it's beating heart, http://www.livele...38914480
Not having feelings towards another human is one trait of sociopath http://www.mcafee.../sb.html

Anyone who supports abortion as you do, fits the definition of sociopath.

TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Jun 18, 2013
Humans have (like many animals) the capability for empathy
'Empathy' is universal in the context of species survival. Amy animal is concerned with the well-being of healthy offspring who should mature to reproduce.

Humans are tribal in nature.

"There can be no doubt that a tribe including many members who, from possessing in a high degree the spirit of patriotism, fidelity, obedience, courage, and sympathy, were always ready to give aid to each other and to sacrifice themselves for the common good, would be victorious over most other tribes; and this would be natural selection" -Darwin, 1871

-We were continuously selected for traits which strengthened the tribe. This included animosity toward non-members.

The best thing we can do today to eliminate this animosity is to strive to extend the perception of 'tribe' to include all of humanity. And we can see that this is exactly what is being done. Western secular culture is Designed to accomplish just this.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Jun 18, 2013
"you rants against Christians "

-No, religionists, as you are all the same thing. Unlike you guys I dont discriminate.

"Fools who personify a piece of stone are just fools"

-So why are your holy places full of icons and sacred pictures of jews with anglo-saxon features? Why the cross on top?

You worship a human being as a god. The majority of other religionists in the world would tell you this is sacrilege.

"A unborn baby. Lets see, It is Human?"

An egg. Lets see, is it a chicken? No.

"yet people like you have no problems sticking a scissor into it's head"

-No I would have extreme problems with this. Just as you SHOULD have extreme problems with the practice of bearing children into poverty or sickness with the idea that if you pray hard enough, your god will feed them or heal them.

Religion-fueled population growth is the REASON that abortion is necessary. ONE BILLION abortions is the only reason that much of the world is at peace today.

Fewer believers = less misery.
freethinking
2.6 / 5 (5) Jun 18, 2013
Otto the psychopath on a rant. My kids are not born into poverty. I do not worship a human as God. The church I go to has no icons or crosses.

Otto, your a hypocrite, you call for the killing of babies, yet you can't do it yourself. You say the ripping apart of a billion babies and crushing of their skulls is preventing war. You Hate the religion that its founder said, Love your neighbor as yourself, and defines your neighbor as everyone including your enemies, and has a broad definition of Love.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Jun 18, 2013
"My kids are not born into poverty. I do not worship a human as God. The church I go to has no icons or crosses"

-Well good for fucking you. You acknowledge a god just like all the other believers, you just disagree on how to please it. You support the lie and refuse to take the responsibility for it. 'Well its not MY fault' says ft with his very own purpose-built deity.

YOUR GOD says 'be fruitful and multiply, fill up the earth.' YOUR GOD says 'do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.'

Who are you to criticize others who are only doing what YOUR god is telling them to do?

You cannot separate yourself from the vast body of fundamentalists, because you support the concept.

"You Hate the religion that its founder said, Love your neighbor as yourself"

-No the people who wrote your little novel STOLE the golden rule from earlier religions and LIED to you about it.
http://en.wikiped...den_Rule

-Your religion is nothing BUT plagiarism and lies.
freethinking
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 18, 2013
Otto, the god you worship is hate and lies. The following video shows what happens when people worship your god and what happens when your god rules society. It also shows what happens when people speak the truth in love.

http://www.youtub...dKOfbC9c
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Jun 18, 2013
"ripping apart of a billion babies and crushing of their skulls is preventing war"

-But you religionists would only have them starve or die on the battlefield.

Let me repeat. Religions are designed to outgrow and overrun their counterparts. This is how all the major religions have spread. Joshua, constantine, and muhammud were all conquerors.

Those religions which were best at this are the ones we have left. What makes you think that the nature of these institutions would ever change? Their books have not changed since they were written. And people are still using them to justify all the ripping and crushing that you seem to hate so much.

"Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks." psm 137:9

You dont like it? Then DEMAND that it be edited out. Because even if you cant see yourself using it, there are many others who will.

"He was one of more than 1,000 innocent Bosnian Muslim children and babies killed by bloodthirsty Serbs..." Xian Serbs.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Jun 18, 2013
"Otto, the god you worship is hate and lies. The following video shows what happens when people worship your god and what happens when your god rules society. It also shows what happens when people speak the truth in love"

-And you dont recognize this as propaganda of a most insipid sort?

Bosnia is REAL.

Northern ireland is REAL.

Breivek and mcvey were REAL.

Witches are routinely killed in asia and south america by xians.

The kidnap, abuse and murder of 1000s of indigene children at the hand of priests and ministers in canada is REAL.

You have a great deal to account for.
http://www.youtub...mje75kZo
freethinking
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 19, 2013
Otto, Christians are growing the fastest in China, and they are not growing because they are having more children than others. Just saying...

So those evil people and groups you mentioned, did they follow the most important commandment of Jesus? Jesus commanded people to Love One Another. If someone does not follow Jesus commands, then they are not followers of Jesus, and thus not Christian.

However, Progressives such as Stalin, Moa, Pol Pot, Hitler, Sanger, etc, follow their commands of killing, murdering, lying,
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Jun 19, 2013
"Otto, Christians are growing the fastest in China'

-And we see the trouble it caused last time this happened:

"The Taiping Rebellion was a massive civil war in southern China from 1850 to 1864, against the ruling Manchu-led Qing Dynasty. It was a millenarian movement led by Hong Xiuquan, who announced that he had received visions in which he learned that he was the younger brother of Jesus. At least 20 MILLION PEOPLE DIED, mainly civilians, in one of the deadliest military conflicts in history"

"WALLACE: What are your religious beliefs, Mrs. Sanger? Do you believe in God in the sense of a Divine Being -- who rewards or punishes people after death?

SANGER: Well, I have a different attitude about--the divine--I feel that we have divinity within us, and the more we express the good part of our lives, the more the divine within us expresses itself.I suppose I would call myself an Episcopalian by religion..."
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Jun 19, 2013
"commands of killing, murdering, lying"

-And as anyone can read, your book condones all these things in service to your faith. Lying is condoned by example, as we KNOW that none of the major events happened, and none of the central characters existed. Including jebus the wondergod who was only a carbon copy of many earlier godmen.
http://www.youtub...-BcN8u8Q

So how do you reconcile these things ft?

WHY is there only contrary evidence to be found after 100 years of digging?

WHY is the book full of lies which are so easy to disprove?

And HOW can you continue to believe when faced with these realities?
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Jun 19, 2013
"So those evil people and groups you mentioned, did they follow the most important commandment of Jesus? Jesus commanded people to Love One Another. If someone does not follow Jesus commands, then they are not followers of Jesus, and thus not Christian."

-Sorry but most everything those people were guilty of can be found in your book and the books of your fellow religionists around the world. You all share in the conviction that defense of your religion is the whole of the law.

You can start atoning for your collective sins by disavowing your evil book and discarding it. Preferably in flames and preferably in front of your congregation.
freethinking
3 / 5 (4) Jun 20, 2013
Otto, when a conservative or a christian sees a baby they see hope. When you see a baby you see your own hatred reflected back at you.

When you hate lies as much as you hate Christian's you will be ready for the truth. Your attitude typifies what is called the Spirit of the Age
https://www.youtu...OPGrTg-c
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (4) Jun 20, 2013
"Otto, when a conservative or a christian sees a baby they see hope. When you see a baby you see your own hatred reflected back at you"

I love all my relatives very much, young and old. I know that if your religions remain the world will be very difficult for all of them.

"When you hate lies as much as you hate Christian's you will be ready for the truth. Your attitude typifies what is called the Spirit of the Age"

The truth is, your religion is based on lies. ACKNOWLEDGE THIS. Of course this is something to HATE. Of course all the ignorance and misery that religions cause, is something to HATE.
freethinking
3.4 / 5 (5) Jun 20, 2013
Yup, a when Jesus told his disciples to speak the truth, that was a lie.
When Jesus told his disciples to love even their enemies, that was a lie.

Yet, you want us to believe in a philosophy that encourages its followers to lie.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Jun 20, 2013
"Yup, a when Jesus told his disciples to speak the truth, that was a lie.
When Jesus told his disciples to love even their enemies, that was a lie"

Well it was plagerism which is a type of lie isnt it?

The jesus in your book never existed. The jesus in your book is only an obvious COPY of earlier godmen with similar spiels.

And since we KNOW this, we might suspect that most any crooked priest or scribe could concoct this sort of mindless pap.

Indeed, there were many messianic apocalyptic shamans wandering about the holy land preaching pacifism and martyrdom at about the same time.

But we know that even this is not original. Buddha was preaching the same thing some 500 years earlier.
http://etb-biblic...our.html

-Greeks invented your religion. Alexander founded alexandria and assembled there holy men from around the globe to concoct a religion custom designed for the next phase of world conquest.

It worked.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Jun 20, 2013
"Yup, a when Jesus told his disciples to speak the truth, that was a lie"

We know that upwards of 40% of the works attributed to paul were written by others. We know that 1 and 2 Peter were NOT written by peter. We KNOW that the 'cast the first stone' parable and the last 11 verses of mark are ADULTERATIONS. SO many examples.

Thus we KNOW that we cant trust anything in the book. How do you know that some scribe with buddhist procliviities didnt write

"But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you"

-in matt 5 and NOWHERE ELSE?

But as the sentiment is most useful for compelling martyrs to let themselves and their families be killed, we can assume that it was purposely included. What good is a revolution without martyrs? Jesus was the premier example. MILLIONS followed him off the cliff.
http://www.youtub...s8MaR1YM

Just LOOK at all the religionists. They all look the same to me.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Jun 20, 2013
Buddhism. We know of its direct connection with the western world.
http://en.wikiped...aart.gif

-And its utility in getting millions of adherents killed was also documented during the time of the greeks.
http://en.wikiped...Buddhism

Nothing new under the sun. Why reinvent the wheel?
http://en.wikiped...rmacakra
freethinking
3.4 / 5 (5) Jun 20, 2013
Otto, your rants are childish. Even a person with a cursory understanding of the Bible apologetics knows you don't have a clue. Bringing up old, refuted arguments that modern skeptics no longer use is pathetic. Yup, why reinvent the wheel of arguments that have been soundly refuted 50 years ago.

I'm waiting for you to bring something new to the table. Modern archeology and biblical study have soundly trounced your arguments.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (4) Jun 21, 2013
Otto, your rants are childish. Even a person with a cursory understanding of the Bible apologetics knows you don't have a clue
So again you lie in defense of your god. What makes you think this is right or good, or that it makes your god any more real? The fact that lies are your only defense, is more evidence that your religion is based on lies, and that you dont care.
Bringing up old, refuted arguments that modern skeptics no longer use is pathetic
For instance you have this backwards.

"Tel Aviv University archaeologist Ze'ev Herzog wrote in the Haaretz newspaper:
This is what archaeologists have learned from their excavations in the Land of Israel: the Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel."
cont>
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (4) Jun 21, 2013
"And it will come as an unpleasant shock to many that the God of Israel, YHWH, had a female consort and that the early Israelite religion adopted monotheism only in the waning period of the monarchy and not at Mount Sinai."

On the alleged Temple of Solomon, Finkelstein said that there is no archaeological evidence to prove it really existed. Professor Yoni Mizrahi, an independent archaeologist who has worked with the International Atomic Energy Agency, agreed with Israel Finkelstein."

"Regarding the Exodus of Israelites from Egypt, Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass said:
"Really, it's a myth,"... "This is my career as an archaeologist. I should tell them the truth. If the people are upset, that is not my problem.""

-This is what is known as a consensus.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (4) Jun 21, 2013
Of the NT;

"In his book Forged which was released in 2011, [bart ehrman] asserts that 11 or more books of the Christian New Testament were essentially politically expeditious forgeries, intended to advance various theological positions and were in fact not written by the authors traditionally ascribed to them."

1 Peter:
"Most critical scholars are skeptical that the apostle Simon Peter, the fisherman on the Sea of Galilee, actually wrote the epistle"

2 Peter
"Although 2 Peter internally purports to be a work of the apostle, most biblical scholars have concluded that Peter is not the author"

Pauline epistles
"Several additional letters bearing Paul's name lack academic consensus: Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, and Titus. Scholarly opinion is sharply divided on whether the former two epistles are the letters of Paul; however, the latter four - 2 Thessalonians, as well as the three known as the "Pastoral Epistles" - are widely regarded to be pseudepigraphical."
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (4) Jun 21, 2013
Cast the first stone parable
"Bishop J.B. Lightfoot wrote that absence of the passage from the earliest manuscripts, combined with the occurrence of stylistic characteristics atypical of John, together implied that the passage was an interpolation."

-Which is a polite way of saying that it was added to john long after the book had been written.

Mark ending
"The evidence is clear. This ending is not found in our earliest and most reliable Greek copies of Mark. In A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Bruce Metzger writes: "Clement of Alexandria and Origen [early third century] show no knowledge of the existence of these verses; furthermore Eusebius and Jerome attest that the passage was absent from almost all Greek copies of Mark known to them."1 The language and style of the Greek is clearly not Markan, and it is pretty evident that what the forger did was take sections of the endings of Matthew, Luke and John and simply create a "proper" ending."
freethinking
3 / 5 (4) Jun 21, 2013
Otto, basic, basic, basic, the entry level apologist book, "evidence that demands a verdict" by josh McDowell covers each and every thing you are bring up. This is a very old book, and I think it's available for free on the web.

Otto, anything new to say or are you still repeating Jesus Seminar lies?

If you could bring up something worthy or unique that actually needs me to think, I would appreciate it. My 11 year old has better questions about the bible and issues relating to the history and issues of the bible than you do.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (4) Jun 21, 2013
Well lets see what one theologian and scholar has to say about mcdowells book:

"Chapter 8. The Great Preposterous (1997) by Robert M. Price
"If anyone needed further proof that apologetics as practiced by Josh McDowell is merely an exercise in after-the-fact rationalization of beliefs held on prior emotional grounds, I welcome him to Chapter 8 of ETDAV. One can only say again that McDowell is the worst enemy of his own faith: with defenders like this, who needs attackers? The more seriously one takes him as a representative of his faith, the more seriously one will be tempted to thrust Christianity aside as a tissue of grotesque absurdities capable of commending itself only to fools and bigots."
http://www.infide...er/jury/

-Mcdowell in his book cites josephus as reliable 3rd-party evidence but this has been disproved and disregarded for a century. Your xian salesmen are still using it, and you still believe them without bothering to check.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (4) Jun 21, 2013
And yes he knows what he is talking about.

Price was formerly a Baptist minister in New Jersey, with doctorates in theology (Drew University 1981), and New Testament (Drew 1993)....

"He teaches philosophy and religion at the Johnnie Colemon Theological Seminary, is professor of biblical criticism at the Center for Inquiry Institute, and the author of a number of books on theology and the historicity of Jesus...

-Ever hear of him? I didnt think so.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (4) Jun 21, 2013
"Otto, anything new to say or are you still repeating Jesus Seminar lies?"

-Oh I see dr price was the head of this so I can see why you are a little testy. Facts are facts though.

"If you could bring up something worthy or unique that actually needs me to think, I would appreciate it."

-Well I have presented here many specific facts that are widely accepted by secular and religious scholars alike, and I have referenced them to boot.

You make a few empty proclamations. No specifics, no facts, no cogent arguments, only a little bluster. Jesus still loves me though doesnt he?

You moron. Give your daughter the facts and she will call you a moron as well. Does she know that 100 years of digging has convinced us that the OT stories are all FALSE? Do you still lie to her about them?
freethinking
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 21, 2013
Secular Historians degenerate Jesus Seminar because they are a joke. Only rabid AND ignorant anti-christians use anything from the Jesus Seminars.

Come on Otto, you can do better.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (3) Jun 21, 2013
"Secular Historians degenerate Jesus Seminar

Come on Otto, you can do better"

-Well I suppose it is easy when talking about specific facts, to note that they were discussed at this seminar and then say they're false because of it. But that's not how valid research works. Do you have a ref for secular historians opinions on these seminars?

By the way you misused the term degenerate. Look it up next time.

I just spent a few hours in the historical veracity section of your book. Your author seems to enjoy stating that events are true and then citing others who say the same thing. This is also not valid research.

Your author quotes someone re Jericho who says that the walls 'miraculously' tumbled outward, but fails to mention that the city was abandoned by the time Joshua got there.

He talks about the stele which mentions some David or other, but fails to mention that only ONE very dubious clue of great kingdoms in 100 yrs means they most likely didn't exist.

Sorry but it's crap.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (3) Jun 21, 2013
He goes on about how archeology has confirmed much of the historical context. OF COURSE IT DOES. it confirms that all these other kingdoms existed, and all were aware of each other because we have records of this. But NONE of them were talking to Saul or David or Solomon.

The abundance of evidence for the historical context makes the absense of it for the biblical israel that much more damning. Your author not only does not acknowledge this, but offers it as evidence FOR a biblical Israel.

It not willfully deceptive, then he is just ignorant.

He uses the quote 'no archeology has ever disproved any of the biblical events.' This is simply not true. We see little villages where great cities should be. We find a great deal of contrary evidence that no 2M Jews ever lived in goshen, or that they wandered about Egyptian-army-garrisoned Palestine and Sinai for 40 yrs.

Your author sins by omission.