How different beliefs lead people with identical motivational systems to behave differently

February 26, 2015 by Joshua
in Evolutionary Psychology, Models, Nature, Perception

We all have similar emotional systems, so why do we behave so differently?

I illustrated below how people who have identical drives and emotional systems with only different beliefs can end up behaving differently yet feeling internally the same.

I plan to represent it more graphically and pretty, but this is where I am so far. It shows that internally, we all think and react similarly. Only a slight difference in beliefs can lead to, say fighting in the case of patriotism, even though internally, people feel the same and are following the same emotional system.

If you have questions or comments about the table, please let me know. They will help me improve the model, which is only half-baked now.

  Example (internal) Same/different
Biological drives Happiness, health, emotional reward, pleasure, reciprocity Same
What we believe Country X is best versus country Y is best Different
Strategies Support belief Same
Behavior Act on strategy Same
Meaning Doing what they feel is right Same
Opinion of people who agree Like. See as rational, intelligent Same
Opinion of people who disagree Dislike. See as making world worse, crazy Same
Thoughts on own beliefs Self-evident. Also supported by evidence Same
Thoughts on beliefs of those who disagree Unfounded, patently false. Falsified by evidence Same
Debates based on whose beliefs Their own, no one else’s Same
Rejects whose beliefs People who disagree Same
Sources of beliefs Own experience Same
Amenable to convincing? No Same
How to influence New experiences Same
How advice sounds from people with different beliefs Self-righteous, not understanding, imposing values Same
How beliefs form Exercise to the reader for now Same


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