November 18, 2015

How to overcome polarization or moral injury

Military Times - ‎Nov 15, 2015‎ 
Moral injury is a kind of psychological anguish that can be mild or intense and isn't specific to war but does often come as part of the aftermath of war. It has to do with the reaction to doing wrong, being wronged or witnessing wrongs. For the thinking soldier, war delivers up spades of moral conundrums: Is the fight just? Is calling in this airstrike the right thing to do? Did I protect my troops enough? Did I harm civilians? But it's not just questioning. It's anguish, sometimes crippling shame or guilt. This is not new, it's ancient. Moral rage and anguish goes far back. We see it in Homer, when Achilles, angry over the death of his friend, drags Hector's body around from the back of his chariot. In clinical medicine, moral injury often gets ignored in favor of the slimmer notion of psychological trauma, which primarily is fear-based. This goes beyond the medical model; it's the spiritual and mental anguish some experience when they go to war. -Georgetown University philosophy professor Nancy Sherman

Science Daily‎ - "We were trying to figure out ways to overcome the polarization," says Prof. Feinberg, who teaches organizational behaviour at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management. Dr. Willer is a sociologist at Stanford University.

The pair ran a series of experiments that had participants come up with arguments of their own for someone of the opposite political viewpoint. A theoretical framework of values was used to define what qualified as a liberal or conservative argument.

The results showed that both groups were extremely poor at developing arguments that would appeal to their political opposite, even when specifically asked to do so. Worse, some participants in both camps actually attacked the morality of those they'd been asked to convince.

"Most people are not very good at appealing to other people's values," says Prof. Feinberg.‎ - The study's findings are timely as Canadian political operatives analyze results of their recent federal election and party organizers in the U.S. consider how to build bridges with voters for that country's election in 2016.

"Instead of alienating the other side and just repeating your own sense of morality, start thinking about how your political opposition thinks and see if you can frame messages that fit with that thought process," suggests Prof. Feinberg.‎ - 2 days ago

The Indian Express - ‎“Initially, we thought we had observed a difference in participants in terms of personality, sense of control, and self-esteem based on their self-help reading habits,” said first author Catherine Raymond, a doctoral student at the Institut universitaire en sante mentale de Montreal. “In reality, there seems to be no difference between those who read and those who do not read these types of books,” said Raymond. “However, our results show that while consumers of certain types of self-help books secrete higher levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) when confronted with stressful situations, consumers of another type of self-help books show higher depressive symptomatology compared to non-consumers,” she said. [...]

“Logically, if such books were truly effective, reading just one would be enough to solve our problems,” she said. The study was published in the journal Neural Plasticity. 

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