Posts Tagged ‘Higher-Order Behavioral Contagion’

Permissiveness+Neglect+Abuse in Children= Bad Behavioral Contagion!

November 18, 2018

Permissiveness+Neglect+Abuse in Children= Bad Behavioral Contagion!

Many Americans look upon recent developments in American politics in amazement. You can easily hear: America is falling apart! What the hell is going on?! What is happening to us?! Things are spinning out-of-control!

The truth is that all of the social chaos and fearsome anarchy, as well the rise in popularity of Marxist ideals and socialism, have been growing under all of our noses for many years.

A plethora of variables have contributed to the mess that America is now. What we are experiencing is a close approximation to complex cause-effect sociocultural downward spiral that has badly damaged almost all of Western Civilization.

There are a great many influences that singularly and in combination, bring stress and harm to the quality of a population’s behavior patterns. Such influences can be war, petulance, disease, famine, and natural disasters, etc.. Changes of this sort are classified as distress. On the other hand, changes that are considered good, happy or “beneficial” can cause more moderate stress and are known as eustress. Each kind of stress requires adaptation, time and energy to accommodate. 

Then there is a host of stressful advantages and disadvantages that arrive in the form of what may be called “modernization”; namely technological advancements in the area’s of communication, transportation, entertainment, medicine, economics, other time-saving and work-saving advancements. These cultural changes tend to increase faith in mankind and diminishing faith in founding religions as well as other cultural, social, economic and political beliefs and preferences. Many also make life less effortful and rewards more easy to obtain. These cultural changes can contribute to a weakening of motivation and perseverance within a population. Consider the anti-motivational effects of welfare programs and true socialism, for example.

It is important to add, to the previous incomplete list of influences and stresses, the variable of increasing complexity in governments. Governments tend to grow in power, scope and complexity until they become ineffective and moribund. Defunct governments loose legitimacy and increase the likelihood of revolution.

Democratic societies appear to be particularly susceptible to his chain of events, their life-spans are thought by many to typically last around 200 years or so.

It appears, as with individuals, all changes within sociocultures, good or bad, are stressful because they require that a population, political, economic and social agencies change and adapt their behavior patterns in order to meet new challenges.

An important source of change, stressing the entire sociocultural system is what happens to families and the children that they rear. It is important to note that families both affect sociocultural evolution for good or bad and are, in turn, themselves affected by sociocultural evolution, for good or bad. 

This brings us to the matter of Behavioral Contagion, defined as: The spread of particular behavior patterns within a population via scientifically validated Biopsychosocial mechanisms.

It is important to note that changes within populations stress the various social and political agencies that serve them. I call this level of behavioral contagion; Higher Order Behavioral Contagion.

There are many avenues of behavioral contagion. Biological influences include physical damage due to physical injuries, diseases, or inherited characteristics. Social influences include the more’s, folkways, and other behavior patterns among the population to which individuals are exposed. Psychological influences include the mechanisms of behavior change found within the scientific realms of Social Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Conditioning and Learning Psychology, Behavior Analysis and Applied Behavior Analysis, etc. They also include the perceptual, emotional and belief changes that are influenced within each domain.

Now, please learn about one very important current avenue of bad behavioral contagion in America.

Permissiveness+Neglect+Abuse of Children= Bad Behavioral Contagion!

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.

Health Services Provider in Psychology

Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Indiana University South Bend





Bad Behavioral Contagion: Colorado Pot Floods Other States

December 19, 2014

Bad Behavioral Contagion: Colorado Pot Floods Other States

Well, I’ll be darned!

Who would have ever thought that if one state legalized the recreational consumption of marijuana and developed a massive industry to grow high-quality cannabis and market it to consumers…..that it would ever spread into other nearby states and beyond?!

Gosh, this would be truly inconceivable……to idiots.

On the other hand, not enforcing the federal drug laws in liberal States, knowing that population drug consumption patterns would spread, or contage, to other states would be yet another in the Obama Administration’s myriad of diabolical strategies to transform (i.e., destroy) America.

Sadly, I conclude that both explanations of this mess are not only compatible with one another, they are both psychologically synergistic and catalyzing to this form of bad behavioral contagion in America. Most folks don’t think of things this way, and this is the reason that America is in its astonishing rate of decline.

Let me clarify.

Both bad and good population behavior patterns can naturally spread to other members of a citizenry because of the psychological principles of modeling and imitation (humans have a natural tendency to imitate others); direct social reinforcement (social approval and acceptance) of the behavior; material reinforcement of  marketing and selling the drugs (cash rewards), as well as the physiological reinforcement that comes with its consumption (getting stoned and escaping stress in ways that are self-defeating). All of this is damaging to the health and vitality of our socioculture. Furthermore, media coverage and word-of-mouth information presents discriminative stimuli (signals that motivate seeking and consuming behavior within a population).

In my opinion, the results of all of this were perfectly predictable for those who understand principles of psychology and are not blinded by radical liberal philosophy.

The population behavioral contagion dynamics discussed above are the reasons that drugs were made illegal in the past and were called a “vice”.

Please see below for documentation of this obvious outcome of America’s progressive/liberal social redesigns.

Now please see the documentation for the predictable tail-chasing rat-race that all of this has stimulated. Now our legal system (law enforcement) is stressed, the court systems are over-burdened, and the matter will bog-down our Supreme court and our entire political local, state and federal political system. Additionally, the costs of all of this wasted energy will be passed to all of us in the form of increased taxes, further stressing all of us.

In my language, when the stresses caused by primary bad behavior contagion (within the population) begin to stress various social organizations and systems, higher-order bad behavioral contagion is plain to see.

When the stress is focused back on general population of in the form of additional tax expenses, the vicious cycle is complete. Higher-order Bad Behavioral Contagion has stimulated more Primary Bad Behavioral Contagion directly back to the individual citizens.

This is the downward spiral, in many forms, that mediates America’s present decline. Can you not see this happening all around you, in its many other forms?

All of this is caused by bad psychological self-management decisions (rule changes) within our own precious socioculture.

Now see Higher-Order Bad Behavioral Contagion in action below.

Wake-Up America!

Vote for Rule Changes that will stimulate Good Behavioral Contagion in America!

What are they? For now, know what they are not.

They are not progressive-liberal-socialist-comunist rules and practices.

Vote against these rules and practices at all levels of Government and America will begin a real recovery!

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.,   12/19/14

Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Indiana University South Bend

The Psychology of America’s Decline #3

February 22, 2012

The Psychology of America’s Decline #3

Behavioral Contagion and Changing Population Behavior Patterns

Medicine was able to make great strides when it learned the ways in which disease spread among humans. It is now time that the science of human behavior capture similar gains. In chapter 9, the older psychological concept of behavioral contagion was revitalized. Discussed there was the fact that behavior is contagious. Behavior (emotions, perceptions attitudes and actions), both good and bad, spread within a population as a result of person to person, or media mediated symbolic contact.

You may recall that my definition of behavioral contagion is: The spread of particular behavior patterns within a population via scientifically validated biopsychosocal mechanisms. 

Behavioral contagion is a social phenomenon and from that perspective behavior change is spread by contact with other humans through direct contact (we see, hear, or are touched by someone within a particular context). Though we normally do not think about it in this way, it is essential to do so. Just think about any personal relationship (friends, lovers, or family, in which you have had to deal with someone who has been angry, threatening, violent, depressed, untrustworthy, etc. Conversely, think about the times that you have had with those who are kind and loving, courteous, honest, and helpful. Recall the emotions, thoughts and your own behaviors in under these conditions. I will assure you that if you were a practicing psychologist, the range of phenomena that I call behavioral contagion would gain stunning clarity.

It would also be clear that behavioral contagion spreads through indirect contact (individuals witness artificial depictions of events through our ever-present media. We observe others seeing, hearing, or being impacted in good or bad ways by still others, or different events,  within various contexts. This also is clear to see as our society becomes more profane, violent, drug involved and sexual amid ever-present media portrayal these behavior patterns.

The behaviors of someone that impinge upon others though direct or indirect contact commonly change the emotions, perceptions, beliefs and behaviors of the impinged individual. In these complex and ubiquitous chains of social transmission, the behavior patterns that impinge upon others become both causes and effects.

This is commonly observed in the transmission of both good and bad behavior patterns within families across generations. Such examples of behavioral contagion include all three domains of transmission (biological, psychological, and social). Family members physically resemble one another and they often display genetically based physical and psychological strengths and weaknesses. The same can be said for the behavior patterns that are shaped by basic principles of psychology and also function predictably within unique family mores, folkways, traditions, and action patterns. All of this occurs within the family’s unique sociocultural contexts, which further shapes behavioral outcomes.

Although the outcomes of behavioral contagion are individually difficult to predict, when viewed from statistical perspective (Rate per 100,000 of population), they become very predictable. This predictability advantage can be observed when individuals who are subjected to x, y, and z events are at significantly greater risk for certain kinds of behavioral/ psychological problems, or they are at less risk for them.

A great deal is known about the workings of behavioral contagion. Both prosocial (good behavioral contagion) and damaging (bad behavioral contagion) advance or spread through a population, via the very same well-known biological, psychological and social principles which I have described in earlier chapters.

No less real, but more difficult to recognize, is what I call Higher-Order behavioral contagion. Increases in Primary behavioral contagion (good or bad) among the citizens of any society are directly transmitted to the social organizations and systems that function to transmit, stabilize, and protect the socioculture of concern. Look carefully and you will see that as America’s behavior problems have increased, the demands (stressors) placed upon social services, law enforcement, the courts, education and special education has continues to overwhelm them. Higher-order bad behavioral contagion flows upward through our levels of government and back down to the population in the form of increased taxes and decreases in the quality of infrastructure and services at all levels.

As explained earlier, the effects of this massive and very complex behavioral contagion cycle are both catalytic and synergistic to further escalating feed-back cycles of bad behavioral contagion.

Breaking these escalating feed-back cycles of bad behavioral contagion will require a great, focused and well-defined effort by both government and citizens.

Francis Bacon reportedly stated that: “Things alter for the worse spontaneously, if they are not altered for the better designedly”. I am certain that this is the truth.

It is much more labor intensive to insure that the rates of good behavior contagion are greater than the rates of bad behavior contagion. Maintaining higher rates of good behavioral contagion requires sustained planning, coordinated effort, and constant maintenance This is true whether the focus is upon the individual, family, city, state, or a whole socioculture. It is the basic nature of bad behavior contagion that its determinants are low effort, easier, faster and more immediately rewarding than those of good behavioral contagion.

The failure to understand these basic truths, and to vigilantly work to increase and maintain rates of good (and avoid bad) behavioral contagion is an important variable in the decline of civilizations.

The preceding from the book I am writing. You may share it with others, but not for commercial purposes.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.  2/20/12

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