Perhaps the right wing has intuited this all along. One of their routine strategies is to manipulate conservative cost/benefit options into sacred identity politics for their followers. Meanwhile secularists shy away from enthusiastic emotional commitment to whatever secular values should be sacred to us.

 

"Most public policy is based on offering people incentives and disincentives," Berns says. "Our findings indicate that it's unreasonable to think that a policy based on costs-and-benefits analysis will influence people's behavior when it comes to their sacred personal values, because they are processed in an entirely different brain system than incentives."

"We've come up with a method to start answering scientific questions about how people make decisions involving sacred values, and that has major implications if you want to better understand what influences human behavior across countries and cultures," Berns says. "We are seeing how fundamental cultural values are represented in the brain."

The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)...

How the brain decides whether to 'sell out'

This reminds me of a disastrous strategy environmentalists tried, paying indigenous people of Pacific Islands to conserve their ocean resources. The net result was to monetize those resources in the minds of the people, leading to greater exploitation if they weren't going to be continually paid.

Tags: meta values

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Replies to This Discussion

Thanks for the article post Ruth!

Hi Ruth. I thought most public policy involved contracts, compliance and jurisdiction to enforce the boilerplate. Incentives like cheap federally guaranteed home mortgages, National Health Care and disincentives like prohibition of hemp or federal agents breaking into your neighbors house with axes are usually based in some residency type of contract or violation.
Anyway "let's extend childhood till most people are in dotage so they're never responsible for floating their own boat" seems to be what most politicians want. After people get used to hand outs, they become entitlements. These things are given out so nobody notices how much the bankers and politicians are stealing. Where did the gold in the world trade center basement vault end up anyway? Paraguay?

Your reply doesn't address the main thrust of the article, that we handle "sacred" values differently in our brains than cost/benefit values, i.e. that once we self-identify with a value it's relatively impervious to change by incentive or disincentive.

When I hear people complain about entitlements, I have a negative reaction. Social Security, for example, isn't an entitlement, it's a benefit workers have paid for and deserve. I've always been upset the way congress depleted the Social Security fund, claiming they were just borrowing and promised to pay it back. But instead they want to cut benefits and now nobody "remembers" that borrowing. Those stealing bankers and their politicians are behind that "entitlement" complaint (meme), it's part of their theft process.

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