Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE)

Criminal Conditions: What Quality of network of friends?

Do you have a close listening ear?

Someone read an old article of mine on Criminal Conditions published in Feb. 16, 2009. I felt the need for a fresh perspective on the Quality of network of friends.

In critical situations of death (suicide or killing others) two main conditions have to exist.  The first basic condition is a physical material one (health problems, safety problems, or financial miseries, or all of them).  The second complementary condition is an idealistic spiritual motivator (revenge, dignity, freedom, and so forth).

As the bad material condition persists or worsen,  the spiritual factor develop into focus, in target, and in planning.  Committing a crime is not easy at all:  You need a network of supporting elements; you need the arm, the close friends’ network, the social and cultural environments, and you need the conscious target to be frequently available.  Even those we always label as “crazies” need a support system to carry out their crime.

The spiritual motivator always comes in second in the chronology of a crime, but it quickly takes a life of its own and over shadow the fundamental source of the germinating idea.  There is this special case where the criminal is dirty rich and yet commit crimes; but we always forget to dig a little in his past, before he became rich and how he started his trip to riches, and how he built his support system.

There are ways to deflect the soaring spiritual emotion.  First, the material condition is altered temporarily, and then the intensity of the spiritual factor is slowed down on its track, because it failed to gel in focus and target.  Second, the material base is not changed but the spiritual motivator is redirected to financial crimes.  Third, the supporting environment and elements are altered in recognition of the danger and a heightened climate of vigilance may deter a criminal plan.

It really takes a little to change the material condition to deflect the whole process.  The potential criminal can be encouraged to ask or “knock on doors” and is shown the techniques for demanding the basic necessities for physical survival, mainly finding a decent and feasible job. The potential criminal can be treated for his recurring health problems that are not fictitious; though many of these health problems could be a fiction of the imagination for lack of a yearly thorough general examination, caused by a deficient preventive health system to all the citizens.

It really takes a little to change the supporting environmental/social conditions to deflect a crime in the planning stage.  Removing one of the numerous elements or tools in the supporting network can deviate a criminal act.  Benevolent or charitable support groups can play the catalyst for behavioral change.  A community in a town or district can shoulder many responsibilities when decently funded for social activities.

It really takes a lot to “unfocus” a planned criminal act, once it gelled in specific targets and means.  They say human is forgetful and that is why he manages to survive all kinds of traumas. The fact is, even when the far advanced “spiritual factor” has been tamed, it only takes a simple cue in this tumultuous life to re-activate a plan that has matured in previous situations.

Police inspectors and investigators in criminal acts have mapped a coherent taxonomy for “individual crimes”. Social and human sciences lack coherent taxonomies for social crimes that reporters and media businesses need to know and learn in their coverage of their “bad news”.

It is up to the audio-visual reporters in the front line to taking seriously their jobs in order for society to be exposed to the fundamentals of criminal behaviors and the many facets and conditions of criminal activities.

There is this “Theory of crime epidemic and the dispositional” explanation for events”

Question:  Of the two explanations that  predict having a predisposition to criminal behavior, and actually committing a crime, which alternative is the most plausible?

First explanation: The group of adolescents living in a clean and stable neighborhood, in an active and sensible community, but whose family environment is violent and crude.  Do you think this group is more predictive that it will eventually commit a higher rate of criminal activities than other situations and conditions?

Second alternative: The group of adolescents is living in family environment that practice standard moral values and exhibit strong moral support, but surrounded with violent and crude neighborhood. Do you think this group would actually exhibit a higher rate of criminal acts than the first alternative?

It is of no use following the conventional argument that family is the cornerstone of real behavioral actions: A family provides a strong defensive nature against criminal behavior in the first few years of upbringing, but it is the daily environment and peer pressures that offer the catalytic situations for committing an actual criminal act.

Countless experiments with adoptive children versus regular families have shown that, besides genetic inheritance, it is the peer influence in the immediate surroundings that form the adolescent characters for actions, as is the case for smoking or addictive behavior…

Note 1: I might have been describing individual cases, but it easily extends to genocide of whole peoples like the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, the Lebanese, the Iraqis, the Afghanistanis, and all the people who have been subjugated to miseries and apartheid policies.  This is a reminder that the West should not be surprised for revenge activities for a long time, activities that would be labeled “terrorists”.

Note 2: We process information in a global manner by reaching for a “dispositional” explanation for event (which means interpreting other people’s behavior by overestimating the importance of fundamental character traits) as opposed to a contextual explanation.  If we are told that the gym is dimly lighted and the basketball player is not expected to shoot well, we still favor the player in the well lighted gym who did slightly better, even if he is actually far less talented than the other player.  This general tendency is called the Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE).

The human brain has to rely on a “reducing valve” to creating and maintaining the perception of continuity, because if we have to evaluate every event according to its specific situation, we are overwhelmed and become too confused to attend to our myriad of activities and train of thoughts.

For example, a person is in many instances hostile, fiercely independent, passive, dependent, aggressive, warm or gentle depending on who he is with, when, and how, but we tend to reduce his character by stating that the person is either hostile with a façade of passivity or he is warm and passive with a surface defense of aggressiveness.

Thus, we tend to underestimate the minor criminal acts in the specific situations within the environment we are surrounded with, such as overcrowding graffiti views, fare-breaking, window cleaning harassments on intersections, or panhandling in our tendency to believing that lawlessness is the rule.  The frequency of minor criminal acts is predictive to potential serious crimes.  You resolve the minor crimes and you are saved of the calamitous crimes.

Smoking is not cool; smokers are!            

What is nicotine tolerance level? Or is it attitudes of cool role model smokers?

It is of no use following the conventional argument that family is the cornerstone of real behavioral actions: A family provides a strong defensive nature against criminal behavior in the first few years of upbringing, but it is the daily environment and peer pressures that offer the catalytic situations for committing an actual criminal act.

Countless experiments with adoptive children versus regular families have shown that, besides genetic inheritance, it is the peer influence in the immediate surroundings that form the adolescent characters for actions, as is the case for smoking behavior.

We process information in a global manner by reaching for a “dispositional” explanation for event, (which means interpreting other people’s behavior by overestimating the importance of fundamental character traits), as opposed to a contextual explanation.

For example, if we are told that the gym is dimly lighted and the basketball player is not expected to shoot well, we still favor the player in the well lighted gym who did slightly better, even if he is actually far less talented than the other player.

This general tendency is called the Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE).

The human brain has to rely on a “reducing valve” to create and maintain the perception of continuity, because if we have to evaluate every event according to its specific situation, we are overwhelmed and become too confused to attend to our myriad of activities and train of thoughts.

For example, a person is in many instances hostile, fiercely independent, passive, dependent, aggressive, warm or gentle depending on who he is with, when, and how. Still, we tend to reduce his character by stating that the person is either hostile with a facade of passivity or he is warm and passive with a surface defense of aggressiveness.

Thus, we tend to underestimate the minor criminal acts in the specific situations within the environment we are surrounded with, such as overcrowding graffiti views, fare-breaking, window cleaning harassment on intersections or panhandling in our tendency to believing that lawlessness is the rule.

In the cases of smoking and suicide, it is the specific context that turns to be the dominant factor.

Almost always, smokers had a role model who was really cool, who didn’t care about people’s opinions of his behavior, a risk taker, sexual precocity, a trend setter and generally categorized as extrovert.

Smoking is not cool, but it is the cool people who smoked who were the catalyst for trying a cigarette.

The general smokers somehow emulate sophistication, they imitate their role models.

Cigarette companies were actually characterizing the cool individuals in their advertisements and movies, “cool characters” who were performing cool dangerous activities, which added more exposure to non-smokers and who were not directly exposed to cool people in their daily life.

Thus, the first stage is the contagion of general smokers from the few cool smokers and next the stickiness of nicotine to perpetuating the habit.

Many smokers have tolerance for the poisonous nicotine and can handle up to three times the amount that average people could tolerate, very mush like alcohol tolerant drinkers, and it is these addicts that becomes regular or heavy smokers.

The “Chippers” or occasional smokers do not feel any withdrawal when they quit for a while because they cannot tolerate nicotine in the first place.

Research has demonstrated that a third of the smoking adolescents quit right away, a third becomes chippers and just a third has the potential to ending up heavy smokers.

Additionally, nicotine does not have a linear addiction trends because it takes at least three years for the occasional smokers to tip to the heavy status.

The amount of daily intake of nicotine that tips a tolerant adolescent nicotine smoker from occasional to heavy smoker is about six milligrams of nicotine or the content in 5 cigarettes.

Consequently, if the nicotine amount in a pack of cigarette is reduced so that the entire pack of 20 contains less than 6 milligrams then, many adolescents would not end up heavy smokers.  T

his is so far the best strategy for conquering the stickiness factor in addiction to cigarettes.

The other alternative is the use of drugs that combat depression: There is a strong correlation between heavy smokers and depressive nature.

For example, the drugs Zyban and Bupropion that are used for depressive individuals to increase the dopamine inhibit the desire for nicotine and they also replace some of the norepinephrine, so that smokers don’t have the agitation of the withdrawal symptoms.

The dopamine and norepinephrine and serotonin are chemicals produced by the brain to enhance neuro-transmission.

Personally, I don’t vividly recall that I emulated a cool individual smoking, at least not consciously, but I started imitating smokers in a nude club that exhibited totally naked cool girls!

No, I cannot recall that I felt a buzz when I inhaled my first cigarette; what I felt was utter disgust, aversion and dislike.

There are rare occasions when I feel dizzy after the first few puffs in the morning; I don’t think feeling dizzy can be considered a pleasurable sensation. However I felt addicted to watching the cool naked girls.

Since I am not a cool guy with precocious sexual activities, or an extrovert by any measure, I may safely consider that my addiction was genetically preponderant for nicotine tolerance.

Instead of chipping cigarettes, I bought boxes and would not throw away the box as long as Walter Mitty’s nude bar remained around the corner from my dormitory.

I tried nicotine patches but insisted on smoking the same number of cigarettes.  I guess my tolerance for nicotine was pretty high and my brain was obviously dysfunctional in secreting the appropriate chemicals for depressive individuals.

Somehow, I have the feeling that the more I smoke the more I revert to adolescence; I may not be much of an extrovert and a defiant person most of the times, but my diary is turning out to be very daring!

In addition to locating the few individuals who are fundamental in spreading the epidemic, it would be good to remember that human communication has a set of counter intuitive rules and your intuitions need to be tested and validated.

Note: The article was inspired by a chapter “The Broken Window theory of crime epidemic


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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