As we push our circle of concern outward — from family to community, from community to country, from country to world — we move farther away from the visceral and into the abstract and statistical. It is one thing to realize that children in a different city or country, perhaps of a different race or socioeconomic status, are “our children.” It is another for the love itself, the feeling of love, to follow that realization. By evolutionary design, we respond powerfully to faces, to presence; we care more for a single identifiable victim than we do for large populations. To draw the distant and universal into our guts, to feel them as we feel our own children’s presence, requires a mix of intellect and will that is not familiar, or easy. For all our love and concern toward those like us, we have an equally strong propensity toward moral disregard, even callousness, toward those outside our circle of empathy. Especially in situations of stress or uncertainty, we tend to pull our circle inward, husbanding our love, concern, and sacrifice for those closest by. Pushing the circle back outwards, in many ways counter to our instincts, is the essence of moral development, both in individuals and for humanity in general. It has been the best impulse of every religion, spirituality, or moral philosophy throughout history. And it has never been more important.
Unlike alcohol, we have a positive social image associated with cell-phone use, even when in the car — it’s the very image of viral multi-tasking. We need to call home to find out if there’s milk in the fridge (somehow we got by without the ability when I first learned to drive). But that positive image is an illusion, and it may be just one factor that helps explain the stubbornly high crash and fatality levels in this country. I can hear you say, but I drive all the time on my phone. Most drunks make it home at night too, through sheer dumb luck, but think of all the death and damage done by those who don’t. Laws will be hard to enforce on this; what we really need is a strong social norm that says it’s just not a good idea to drive and talk — and hands-free offers no cognitive benefit over a hand-held cell-phone.
cars behavior cellphones
Despite advances in traffic and car safety, driving remains the most perilous thing most of us do each day.  And though the average American is more likely to be killed with a car than with a gun, on the whole, drivers have little anxiety about driving.  Hubris is just one of several reasons why. The propensity of drivers to overestimate their ability has been well documented, especially by Tom Vanderbilt. In Traffic, he explains how the false sense of control and ease driving provides, along with humans’ inability to self-assess, allows most drivers to rate themselves “above average.” The dangerous outcome is a “narcissism” that encourages aggressive driving.
cars behavior narcissism
What happens to most of us, in most driving conditions, is that we’re losing some of the key attributes that facilitate human cooperation and, in a larger sense, society. Eye contact, for example, has been shown in any number of experiments to increase the chance of gaining cooperation — that’s why when drivers give you what was called on Seinfeld the “stare-ahead,” your chances that they’ll let you merge in ahead of them are greatly reduced. Then there’s the anonymity in traffic — there’s no one to spread rumors or gossip about you about how bad your behavior was — not to mention the lack of consequences for acting like an idiot. It’s all strikingly similar to the way we act on the internet, in what’s called the “online disinhibition effect.”
cars behavior
The problem is that for a social group to function as an adaptive unit, its members must do things for each other. Yet, these group‐advantageous behaviors seldom maximize relative fitness within the social group. The solution, according to Darwin, is that natural selection takes place at more than one level of the biological hierarchy. Selfish individuals might out‐compete altruists within groups, but internally altruistic groups out‐compete selfish groups. This is the essential logic of what has become known as multilevel selection theory.
behavior sociobiology
During evolution by natural selection, a heritable trait that increases the fitness of others in a group (or the group as a whole) at the expense of the individual possessing the trait will decline in frequency within the group. This is the fundamental problem that Darwin identified for traits associated with human morality, and it applies with equal force to group‐advantageous traits in other species. It is simply a fact of social life that individuals must do things for each other to function successfully as a group, and that these actions usually do not maximize their relative fitness within the group.
behavior genetics
Because they don’t float about in a cell’s cytoplasm, but are strung together with other genes in the chromosome, genes are prevented from being entirely selfish by directly competing with one another. One good reason for this is that genes don’t operate in isolation but work in partnership with other genes and regulatory factors. Dawkins acknowledges this with his analogy of genes working together like rowers in a boat, therefore the first characteristic that all genes have to display is the ability to row together and competition for places in the boat becomes secondary.
behavior genetics
So, just as individual wills are directed towards individual interests, the general will, once formed, is directed towards the common good, understood and agreed to collectively. Included in this version of the social contract is the idea of reciprocated duties: the sovereign is committed to the good of the individuals who constitute it, and each individual is likewise committed to the good of the whole. Given this, individuals cannot be given liberty to decide whether it is in their own interests to fulfill their duties to the Sovereign, while at the same time being allowed to reap the benefits of citizenship.
behavior social contract
Actually narcissism as a cultural force may contribute to the sense out there that driving behavior has gotten progressively worse. This tracks with increases in self-reported narcissistic behavior in psychological tests. More people these days are likely to say “yes” to questions like “if I ruled the world, it would be a better place,” and more people seem to be driving in that spirit.
cars behavior narcissism
Most experts agree that threatened egotism is also associated with murder, rape, as well as gang activity. Making the jump to aggressive driving involves the very same ego-centric behavior. So in this context, a narcissistic driver may perceive another driver’s action as a personal threat to their inflated ego leading to retaliation, which is often manifested as aggressive driving!
cars behavior aggression
Through the development of a specific part of the brain that experiences the reward of others, social decisions and empathy-like processes may have been favoured during evolution in primates to allow altruistic behaviour. “This may have evolved originally to promote being nice to family, since they share genes, and later friends, for reciprocal benefits,” says Michael Platt, a neuroscientist from Duke University who is a co-author of the paper.
behavior neurobiology
Rather, religion, historically, was a profoundly important adaptive feature. Without it, group cohesiveness and the motivation of individuals to die for their tribe or state or nation would likely never have emerged from the palette of instincts we inherited from our prehuman ancestors. And without that kind of motivation, a group will not be able to defend itself against the incursions of neighboring (or long-distance conquering) cultures.
behavior religion
Do the thing several times a day, and it becomes banal.  Though how much and how fast we drive are key determinants of crash risk, driving everywhere, no matter how short the trip, and speeding, no matter how little time is saved, have been normalized. This normalization is what makes crashes, when they happen, so difficult to process.
cars behavior thoughtlessness
Especially with respect to what enabled humans to cooperate in numbers far greater than instinctive kin affiliation and reciprocal altruism would support (and thus to evolve large-scale social structures), it turns out that “good-of-the group” traits actually do play a profoundly significant role.
The coming famines of the mid-21st century cannot be solved by governments, by scientists or by farmers alone. We need a change in behaviour by every person on the planet, especially in rich and urban societies. This is a challenge at the species level.
People who perceive their car as a reflection of their self-identity are more likely to behave aggressively on the road and break the law.
cars behavior aggression
For most of us, driving is an “overlearned” activity, psychologists say. We do it so much that we can do it without thinking. We do it so well that it is dull.
cars behavior thoughtlessness
Back in the early 19th Century, right up until 1861, people were saying we can’t stop the industry of slavery. Slaves were machines for manufacturing goods. That’s how it worked and there was a big sector of the country that was saying we can’t stop, you’re going to destroy us and they were willing to go to war over that. But, stopping slavery was the ethical and moral position and I don’t think any rational person would see it otherwise. One hundred years ago, 10-year-old kids worked in coalmines and textile factories and that was thought to be normal and necessary economic behavior. Up until I think 1928, women weren’t allowed to vote. These were fundamentals principles of the societies at that time. Women can’t vote. Kids can be used in labor. Slaves should be employed for economic value, but eventually you look back on it and think what was wrong with those people. Were they crazy?
human adaptability
You can make your own choices and decisions or you can be a victim to the will and desires of others. Even when you surrender to the will of others you are responsible for the outcome of your life and behavior. You and you alone are responsible for your actions, words and the influence you have on the world you live in.
| search | demo | bike > car | created by |