Today, I read a highly sophisticated & scientific article that was originally published in NeuroLeadership Journal. You might think you would prefer sitting naked on a cactus. In the Arctic. With a sadistic magpie sitting on your head. But no, this one was a bona fide mind-blower. You know, kind of like a leaf blower for your brain. Good thing, too. There was so much dried up crap in my “attic” that it was time for a Nice Spring Cleaning!
The article I’m so gung-ho about was about SOCIAL stress triggers, and about how a seemingly innocent social faux pas on Facebook or in the office cafeteria can elicit a caveman/achmed: “SILENCE! I KILL YOU!”- reaction or make you run as if your butt hair is on fire.
Here’s the science in a nutshell (a.k.a the SCARF model – note: no knitting involved whatsoever) :
If you threaten a person’s …
STATUS (social standing, competence, self-worth) or
CERTAINTY (how well they are able to predict the future),
AUTONOMY (the degree to which they feel that they can control their own destiny/environment),
RELATEDNESS (their sense of belonging to a social group & how safe they feel in their social environment)
FAIRNESS (in a study, people felt happier when they received 50 cents from a total of 1 dollar than when they received 10 dollars from a total or 50 bucks … yeah, chew on that for a while )
… you will paint an instant threat target on your own back (or forehead, if you are lucky). And folk will not be just mildly irritated either. Clubs or other blunt weapons will most definitely be involved. Or, if you are from Finland, axes are always a popular choice.
Did you know that the prevalent code for ANY social behavour is MINIMIZE THREAT+MAXIMIZE REWARD? So … this means I am like that robot in that movie programmed with a set of rules.
Rule #1: minimize threat and maximize reward
Rule #2: you must not hit other people on the head in the manner of … Bud Spencer?
Rule #3: rule #1 trumps rule #2
TLI also that there is this almond shape thingie in our brains, called the amygdala. A Mygdaladawhat? Apparently a tiny CPU that makes split second choices between a potential threat and a potential reward. And GET THIS, this all happens before the brain even turns off the screensaver. Avoid or approach … hmm … kind of sounds like that crappy show on TV, what IS that .. right .. “Snog, Marry, Avoid” .. Yeah. basically the same thing, ahaha
ANYWAY, this all got me thinking about my own lizard brain reactions. Phew, you can imagine my relief! I don’t need extreme anger management after all! I am normal! HURRAH! It’s just that my inner Xena has teamed up with the Amygdala**! Dynamic duo from the stone age!
MY PERSONAL fury po(o)ps to the surface (of my pool of calm) when I am forced to interact with people who are up to all kinds of highly dubious crap, which they like to call “THEIR BUSINESS”. “PRIVATE”. “NUN OF MY BEESKNEES”.
It’s like the SCARF model is an evil TO-DO list for these guys and gals.
“Mm-hm, let’s see, must remember to undermind the status of someone today” or
“Uh, almost told the truth there, must be more careful in the future or these people will start feeling cozy around here”.
“Haha, see what I did there, I totally made that guy unsure about his life, universe and everything.”
“Fair? Fair Schmair!”
And PRIVACY, it is like a police badge or something.
“Yeah, I’m about to make a complete fool out of this guy and suck him dry, but WAIT, here’s my badge, IT’S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.”
Yeah, okay, I’m cool with that. Except “NO I’M NOT”
IN MY BOOK, PRIVACY IS A PRIVILEGE, not an excuse for a self-centered existence in which other people are pawns in game of Schmess. And just like other PRIVILEGES, it needs to be appreciated and handled with proper care.
Anyway, you know what they say: “Revenge? Nah, I’m too lazy. I’m just gonna let KARMA fuck them up”: Yeah, KARMA and the rest of the cave people. And, if I am lucky, maybe … Bud Spencer?
* Thank you Sheldon
* The article: http://www.davidrock.net/files/NLJ_SCARFUS.pdf
* Achmed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfResyFrqlM
* Karma: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0460091/
**definitely going to be my next online alias.