Why Humans Need Prejudice

The fundamental source of prejudice is not ideology, but rather a basic human need and way of thinking, says a new study. To reduce prejudice we must first recognize the role it plays in our daily lives.

What's the Latest Development?


Decisive individuals who do not like ambiguity are the quickest to make judgements about others due to their need to arrive at a clear vision of the world, be it right or wrong, says a new study out of Belgium. "Of course, everyone has to make decisions, but some people really hate uncertainty and therefore quickly rely on the most obvious information, often the first information they come across, to reduce it," says co-author Arne Roets of Ghent University. 

What's the Big Idea?

The study's conclusion suggests that the fundamental source of prejudice is not ideology, but rather a basic human need and way of thinking. But this does not imply that harmful prejudice is inevitable or that we need to accept it. "If people who need quick answers meet people from other groups and like them personally, they are likely to use this positive experience to form their views of the whole group. 'This is very much about salient positive information taking away the aversion, anxiety, and fear of the unknown,' Roets says."

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

Car culture and suburban sprawl create rifts in society, claims study

New research links urban planning and political polarization.

Pixabay
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
  • Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
  • People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller on ​the multiple dimensions of space and human sexuality

Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.

Flickr / 13winds
Think Again Podcasts
  • Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
  • What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
  • Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
Keep reading Show less