Saturday, May 31, 2014
Bi-Strategic Controllers: Women?
Bastiat Blogger: Muga-Mushin, Part 2: Machiavelli's Flood, Two-Factor Theory of Emotions, Bi-Strategic Controllers, Theory of Critical Moments: Unfortunately, the situation seems to be getting much worse: average scores on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) screen have been steadily increasing over time (bi-strategic control tendencies are highly correlated with narcissism) and there is significant evidence that popular social networking sites can end up rewarding the core skills of the narcissist (aggressive self-promotion; tightly edited and lavishly photo journaled lifestyle descriptions designed to depict achievement, travel, wealth, popularity, and excitement; demanding a self-centered audience-performer relationship within the social network).
An equally troubling finding is that a disproportionate share of the increase in narcissism is concentrated in young girls. I am not a sociologist and tend to favor the reductionist and static view of human nature that is offered by evolutionary psychology, but I have to concede that there does appear to be a significant learned or cultural component to narcissism and that it is shaped by positive and negative feedback loops.
Findings are inconclusive and the research is very controversial, but for
argument's sake we can say this: if there is indeed a strong gender-biased
aspect to the overall trend of increasing narcissism, then this will have very
serious long-term social ramifications in regards to dating norms, divorce rates
(which will increase dramatically, thus creating an expectation of divorce among
those who are considering marriage), and rates of childbirth.
Rational men, once informed about the data, will react with misogynistic expectations:
the anticipation of narcissistic/entitlement trend tendencies among females
(which could, among other things, cause women to underestimate the probability
of divorce) could combine with the biological fact that the genders have very
different reproductive windows to create interesting, extremely cynical game
theoretical results where optimal male mating strategies are concerned.
In any case, we can safely say that having to deal with emotionally manipulative
and self-absorbed bistrategic controllers in either a childhood or adulthood
setting can lead to terrible psychological and physiological costs in the
long-run. Remember that aggression triggered by threats to status or
self-preservation is associated with a different neural circuit than is the type
of aggression triggered by predatory instincts, with the RAGE circuit (reaction
to threats) being experienced as emotionally unpleasant while the SEEKING circuits (reaction
to a hunting situation) is experienced as emotionally pleasant.
Besides being insulated
against SCARF attacks by having fall-back positions in each category, the social
operator who must navigate an emotionally treacherous world may decide to
acquire skills of offense as well as defense. The trick to dealing with certain
types of unavoidable/recurring conflict may be to be able to emotionally
reclassify the other party as a prey item rather than a threat, thus creating an
emotional landscape of pleasurable hunting and sensation-seeking rather than
competition and anger. I believe that this is best handled by what negotiation
analysts and decision theorists at Harvard have termed "BATNA dominance"
("BATNA" means "best alternative to a negotiated agreement")in several likely
conflict dimensions, but I will leave this for the next post.