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Roamer
Post  Post subject: Is discrimination an evolutionary trait?  |  Posted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 4:35 pm

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I'm referring to all types of discrimination, against anything that isn't recognized as the norm. e.g. religion/race/disabilities/gender/etc.

If yes, what survival benefit does discrimination offer?
If no, please explain.

No haters, thanks.


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paleoichneum
Post  Post subject: Re: Is discrimination an evolutionary trait?  |  Posted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 4:41 pm
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Not from what i can see. there is no consistency across populations that woulds make a single persons preferences uniform

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Is discrimination an evolutionary trait?  |  Posted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 6:41 pm
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The ability to discern differences could have been selected, though. The ability to recognize dangerous versus safe items, food versus poisons, mates versus predators, for example. Those that see these distinctions more clearly and robustly could potentially have had an advantage over those who did not and that could potentially be manifest today in modern expressions of racism.

While even basic microbes tend to differentiate between food/not-food and ouch/not-ouch, there is also an added tribal element in humans and other primates. We're pack animals that exist in tribes and often have had to compete with neighboring tribes for control over an area, access to mates, food, and similar requirements for survival. Often casting the label of "other" or "kin" was extremely helpful to our own survival and ability to avoid ostracization from the group.

In its modern form, I find racism to be a particularly repugnant, if not persistent form of basic ignorance and displaced scapegoating, but I can see the potential for evolved traits that were themselves helpful in other contexts to magnify the problems of tribalism, xenophobia, and racism we so often see today.

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scire
Post  Post subject: Re: Is discrimination an evolutionary trait?  |  Posted: Tue Oct 11, 2016 4:24 am

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paleoichneum wrote:
Not from what i can see. there is no consistency across populations that woulds make a single persons preferences uniform

If that uniform is a nurse's uniform, then I'm going to go out on a limb and say that is exactly every single person's preference.


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Itoero
Post  Post subject: Re: Is discrimination an evolutionary trait?  |  Posted: Tue Oct 11, 2016 2:29 pm
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Isn't discrimination an artificial survival of the fittest?
I think when you discriminate a person or group, you think your beliefs/skin colour/gender/sexual preference...is the fittest.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Is discrimination an evolutionary trait?  |  Posted: Tue Oct 11, 2016 2:42 pm
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We probably need the OP to better define what they mean by discrimination.

Does it mean seeing others who are not exactly the same as "less than" or somehow "inferior?"
Does it mean preventing people who are different from sharing food/mates/resources?
Does it mean treating a group of people as more advanced due merely to their nationality?
Does it mean preventing people from sharing the same rights (like marriage, being beneficiary on insurance or savings accounts, being able to visit in the hospital when sick)?
Does it mean having offspring killed or maybe as a justification for some sort of eugenics?
Is it about changing who gets into college or who is capable of doing certain types of work?

What do we mean by discrimination for purposes of this discussion?

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Roamer
Post  Post subject: Re: Is discrimination an evolutionary trait?  |  Posted: Fri Oct 14, 2016 6:53 am

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The definition of discrimination I am referring to would be the one most commonly used by the media.

I guess it would be something like "Seeing and treating minorities (e.g. religion/race/disabilities/gender/etc) negatively.", which should be the definition that is most commonly used by the media.


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Curiosity
Post  Post subject: Re: Is discrimination an evolutionary trait?  |  Posted: Tue Oct 18, 2016 12:17 am

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Humans have a natural mistrust and bias towards those that they consider different than themselves. For survival reasons, it is advantageous to be able to quickly categorise things, including people. Humans may have a natural tendency towards ethnocentrism, where they think their own little tribal group is the centre of the universe.
I'd have a look at the SCARF-model (Status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness and fairness) which describes some social needs of humans [Rock, D. (2008). SCARF: A brain-based model for collaborating with and influencing others. Neuroleadership Journal, 1, p. 1-9.]

A person considered to be different from what your brain normally considers a friend, such as your own ethnicity/tribal group may automatically trigger a threat response, which can be seen in activation of the amygdala. For a concrete example of this, please refer to: Allen J. Hart, Whalen, P.J., Shin, L.M., McInerney, S.C., Fischer, H., and Rauch, S.L. (2000). Differential response in the human amygdala to racial outgroup vs ingroup face stimuli. Neuroreport, 11(11), 2351-2355.


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Lynx_Fox
Post  Post subject: Re: Is discrimination an evolutionary trait?  |  Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 8:59 pm

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wireless
Post  Post subject: Re: Is discrimination an evolutionary trait?  |  Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2016 7:14 pm

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Curiosity wrote:
Humans have a natural mistrust and bias towards those that they consider different than themselves. For survival reasons, it is advantageous to be able to quickly categorise things, including people. Humans may have a natural tendency towards ethnocentrism, where they think their own little tribal group is the centre of the universe.
I'd have a look at the SCARF-model (Status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness and fairness) which describes some social needs of humans [Rock, D. (2008). SCARF: A brain-based model for collaborating with and influencing others. Neuroleadership Journal, 1, p. 1-9.]

A person considered to be different from what your brain normally considers a friend, such as your own ethnicity/tribal group may automatically trigger a threat response, which can be seen in activation of the amygdala. For a concrete example of this, please refer to: Allen J. Hart, Whalen, P.J., Shin, L.M., McInerney, S.C., Fischer, H., and Rauch, S.L. (2000). Differential response in the human amygdala to racial outgroup vs ingroup face stimuli. Neuroreport, 11(11), 2351-2355.

Sounds right to me.


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Pong
Post  Post subject: Re: Is discrimination an evolutionary trait?  |  Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 7:16 am
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Is discrimination an evolutionary trait?
Roamer wrote:
The definition of discrimination I am referring to would be the one most commonly used by the media

If yes, what survival benefit does discrimination offer?

I think yes, and I think it's a lot pointier than what others have said.

We mean discrimination like, "No Hatfield daughter will ever marry a McCoy," that could be a race, class, political, etc. discrimination; which causes some kind of segregation, so that cultural and genetic mixing is reduced.

Evolution for humans and some other species is genetic but also cultural; either one can drive the other. After many generations of marrying their cousins, the highland Hatfields will adapt different cultural and genetic traits than their McCoy neighbours who are river-folk. Likewise after the relative drop in sea level along the BC coast stranded marine sticklebacks into disconnected lakes they evolved along different paths. But it wasn't that one lake's sticklebacks diverged from another's. Within each lake individual fish tended to a preferred niche: bottom, surface, shoreline, etc. rewarding different feeding behaviors. The fish segregated. Today, they show different courtship displays, effectively saying, "No Hatfield will ever marry a McCoy." You can re-create this somewhat just by letting a pair of guppies breed in a large fishtank. After a few generations I noticed two groups that seldom met (guppies bear highly individual markings, so they're easily distinguished). I didn't track paternity, so I must assume a female who spends all her time at the surface less likely mates with males habitually grazing the bottom. She'd more likely mate with her peers.

Of course humans specialize and pass our habits far more than guppies or sticklebacks. If you grew up eating fish, and your parents taught you to catch fish, you're unlikely to seek food by delving for tubers. Rightly - you'd be no good at it. Less fit, for that niche. That's natural selection working on culture.

War and genocide is discrimination taken to extreme. One could argue these are common in the animal kingdom. After all wasps wage "war" against bees, and sometimes eagles "genocide" a heron rookery apparently out of spite. But such intensity of discrimination within a species, discrimination purely over cultural or superficial differences is quite rare and unsustained. An Algonquin wolf released in the Yukon stands a good chance of mating and pair-bonding with a local, despite "alien" behavioral traits it learned from its Algonquin pack.

Our chimpanzee cousins practice war and genocide in almost human fashion though. They willfully segregate into culturally and genetically exclusive populations. This isn't just environmental circumstance forcing divisions in the species, like being cut off by changing shorelines. Apparently chimps have an innate personality trait compelling them to form rival groups.

Most of recorded human history is like the chimps'. Groups loved their own unique traits, while hating those with different traits. We seem compelled to do this. We'll make up totally silly distinctions and play those up if necessary.


The OP asked is discrimination an evolutionary trait. I read that to mean "is it encoded?" and I've said it appears so. But I'll suggest it's an "evolutionary trait" in an additional sense.


Since both species have this weird self-segregating habit, I must assume our common ancestor did. That is, what humans and chimpanzees both were before we diverged to eventually become separate species. Perhaps that explains why we did diverge. Knowing us, it could have begun with a petty disagreement. And look at us now. The alternative, if we'd behaved like most animals: Today there'd be one species neither chimp nor human, grouping only briefly and by circumstance, no where in our wide range very specialized. Like, raccoons or something.

I'd further speculate that self-segregation (discrimination) invites natural selection to work overtime. It's a gamble to each group, but to the whole increases the odds of surviving some calamity and also the odds of ...stumbling, so to speak... upon a really potent adaptation. For example certain groups can digest lactose beyond infancy. This genetic trait is so closely tied to culture (animal husbandry) that it's pointless to say which drives which - genes or culture. Either way, each group is gambling on natural selection their own adaptive path pays off. Vegans and forecasters of sustainability say the jury's still out on that question. But regardless of which group ultimately wins the contest, humanity as a whole wins because we tried multiple ways to thrive. I think this means we evolve faster. (?) That's not supposed to happen, is it?

This trait responsible for discrimination appears to game the system of evolution itself. So is our species "just lucky" to enjoy its terrific success? I offer my hypothesis in place of that one.


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Diane G
Post  Post subject: Re: Is discrimination an evolutionary trait?  |  Posted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 2:02 pm

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In group/ out bias appears to be universal and hardwired, but what those groups are is much more flexible. Experiments show that people form in group out bias over very trivial things, like if they are told (even falsely ) that they are from the same home town or share the same birth date.

Some experiments show that even racial bias might be less tenacious than thought if there are other common traits that people share in comparison to others, such as occupation or language or economic class, or some other type of affiliation.


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Pong
Post  Post subject: Re: Is discrimination an evolutionary trait?  |  Posted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 3:07 pm
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So it's a need. The question then is what to feed it.

I think I'll watch the game...


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Is discrimination an evolutionary trait?  |  Posted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 3:20 pm
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Diane G wrote:
In group/ out bias appears to be universal and hardwired, but what those groups are is much more flexible. Experiments show that people form in group out bias over very trivial things, like if they are told (even falsely ) that they are from the same home town or share the same birth date.

Some experiments show that even racial bias might be less tenacious than thought if there are other common traits that people share in comparison to others, such as occupation or language or economic class, or some other type of affiliation.

Nice post

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iNow

"[Time] is one of those concepts that is profoundly resistant to a simple definition." ~C. Sagan


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