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Life at № 42

Rank reversal aversion inhibits redistribution across societies | Nature Magazine, Human Behaviour

Picture not part of the original article, I just thought it was an amusing match.

 

“Income inequality is pervasive despite evidence of inequality-averse social preferences. We show that people will sometimes support inequality to avoid reversing the rank of others in society. Using a third-party dictator game that we call the redistribution game, we found that people sometimes choose more unequal outcomes to preserve existing hierarchies. When a proposed transfer reversed pre-existing income rankings, adults across cultures were twice as likely to reject the transfer. Running the same experimental game in a society of nomadic Tibetan herders with a low level of market integration, we observed an exceptionally high aversion to rank reversals. In children, we found that inequality aversion develops between the ages of four and five, as shown in previous studies, whereas rank reversal aversion develops between the ages of six and seven. Just as some animal species develop stable pecking orders to reduce in-group violence, human aversion to reversing rank is observed at an early age and across cultures.”

Source: Rank reversal aversion inhibits redistribution across societies | Nature Human Behaviour

A-HA! Amazing isn’t it? Not surprising though. Have you considered how much of human interaction seems to be based on assessing one’s own (and others’) place in the hierarchy? Questions as basic as where are you from or what do you do lead to a calculation (that we might not even be conscious we’re making when we ask them.)

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13 comments on “Rank reversal aversion inhibits redistribution across societies | Nature Magazine, Human Behaviour

  1. coteetcampagne
    July 15, 2017

    Too true.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Steve Ruis
    July 15, 2017

    Life is like a totem pole–the only way to make sure you are not on the bottom is to make sure someone else is.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      July 15, 2017

      And isn’t it fascinating how humans come up with all manner of rationalisations for it?

      Like

  3. Sirius Bizinus
    July 15, 2017

    And to think that dogs do this way more efficiently than humans. Life would be easier if we all sniffed each other’s butts.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      July 15, 2017

      And so much less horrible than inventing racist theories 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Linn
        July 17, 2017

        Ehm. I don’t see how judging someone as inferior based on their inmate smell would be any better than judging someone as inferior based on their skin color or gender.

        Anyway, I like that the article mention how several animals besides humans have pecking orders. It always annoys me how some people nowadays have the weird, unscientific worldview in which nature and other animals are good and humans are bad. It’s as ridiculous as religion. It’s based on the same unfounded assumptions of divine order (I’ve always wondered how atheists that talk about Mother Nature don’t find themselves drowning in irony), and the same ordering of the world into neat little boxes of good and evil.
        I’ve observed myself how cruel hierarchies among other animals than humans can be.

        I wonder if our need to protect the hierarchy is connected with our need to protect our group, in addition to the desire to protect our own privilege of course. After all, isn’t income just as important as skin color in assessing whether someone belongs to your group or not? I maintain hope that our more globalised, connected world will make us see beyond our own rank just as it has helped us see beyond our own skin color, sex and sexuality.
        There is less racism overall nowadays f.ex, and I think it’s mostly caused by ethnic groups interacting with each other on the same level. When you regularly interact with people of a different color, religion, sex or class, they suddenly become part of your group instead of “The Other”.

        Just a 100 years ago it would have been almost inconceivable for a Norwegian woman my age to have become friends with Protestants and Catholics, Atheists and Muslims, politicians and cleaners, black Africans and south-east Asians etc.
        That level of equal interaction across groups have never been so widespread before and will at least help us along the way, even though it won’t remove the hierarchy or racism any time soon.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        July 17, 2017

        The major difference between animals and humans is, I think, the honesty. Definitely brutal, but I suppose I’m bothered by rationalisations that justify (and even promote) inequality.

        Like

      • Linn
        July 17, 2017

        Those rationalizations are just because we can talk and have the intelligence to formulate such thoughts. If ants could talk, I’m sure they would have described why they want to wage war against the ant hive next to them. As it is, ants can’t talk and so we cant really know why some ant species constantly wage war. Except, I’m. pretty sure their justification would be the same as ours: “Those ants are not a part of us!”

        And aren’t we also making rationalisations right now on behalf of both ourselves and other animals by explaining evolutionary mechanisms? Couldn’t evolutionary psychology just be described as one big justification for all the horrible acts seen in nature?

        I just don’t get the thought pattern of people that admits that humans are animals and yet somehow still thinks that a human committing murder is intrinsically evil while an animal eating the children of a rival is somehow good because its “oh so natural”. My point is that we’re all part of nature, good and bad (which you know of course, considering your posts about evolution).

        Liked by 1 person

  4. foolsmusings
    July 16, 2017

    My own theory is that if everyone gave all their money to me, they wouldn’t need to fight over it anymore. What a wonderful world it would be. :p

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Diana MacPherson
    July 16, 2017

    The AI overlords will put our human biases right! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      July 16, 2017

      Is that part of your agenda as the new Dr. Who?

      Like

      • Diana MacPherson
        July 16, 2017

        Yes, I’m going to I try to fix the Cybermen. 🤖

        Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on July 15, 2017 by in activism and tagged , , , .
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