Academic study of virtuous victimhood from the immorality lab

“Signaling virtuous victimhood as indicators of Dark Triad personalities.” (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, full text available):

The cry that one is a victim of injustice, oppression, intolerance, or any of the myriad reasons why people believe they are prevented from getting what they want in life has echoed loudly through the ages. It remains so today. … we propose that claiming victim status, an act we refer to as victim signaling, also allows victims to pursue an environmental resource extraction strategy that helps them survive, flourish, and achieve their goals in situations that are responsive to their claims. By resource extraction we mean that resources are transferred from either individuals or larger institutions (e.g., the state, organization) to the person who signals victimhood.

The obligation to alleviate others’ pain can be found in most of the world’s moral systems. It also appears to be built into the structure of the mind by evolution, as evidenced by the human tendency to feel distress at signs of suffering. It is therefore not surprising that many people are motivated to help perceived victims of misfortune or disadvantage

The four authors come from the University of British Columbia’s “Immorality Lab”:

The Immorality Lab was created in 2009 at the campus of the University of British Columbia in affiliation with Sauder School of Business and the Faculty of Psychology. The purpose of the lab is to unite a virtual community of international scholars who study the many ways people mistreat one another and contribute to the sum total of misery and unhappiness in the world.

The head of the lab describes himself as “A Leader who sets no example and “High School Graduate (w/o honors)”.

How is it possible that the Canadians are studying immorality? These are the people who have promised to take every low-skill migrant whom the U.S. rejects? (see “Why accept any refugees to the U.S. if they are welcome in Canada?” and “Can the refugee caravan at the U.S. border simply fly up to Canada?” (in which offered to spend $50,000 of my own funds to deliver migrants to Vancouver, but the Canadians did not accept the offer)) In fact, they don’t even use the word “migrant” or “immigrant,” but rather “New Canadian” or “new citizen”.

Shouldn’t an immorality lab be centered in a U.S. state that voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump?

Maximum virtue on display, captured in some photos during a now-illegal trip to Toronto in March 2019:

Related:

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Power of the Media to Shape Coronaplague Beliefs

On a recent WhatsApp video call, a friend in Ireland expressed concern over the disastrous wave of deaths washing over the United States. He’d scanned newspaper headlines and had processed that coronaplague infections were at an all-time high in the U.S. He inferred from this that Americans must be dying in larger numbers than back in April, for example.

I checked the front page of the New York Times while we were chatting. Sure enough, plague is worse than ever here:

Unlike my righteous neighbors in Maskachusetts, he does not pretend to care about all humanity. So he hadn’t clicked down and scrolled through five screens to get to the following chart:

I.e., if this chart were on the front page, we might think that the plague was on its way out! (and we would, I hope, attribute this to our faith in the Church of Shutdown and the Sacrament of Masks!)

[For reference, a similar curve for never-shut never-masked Sweden (from the prophets at IHME):

]

It was interesting to learn what kind of impression our media leaves in a reader’s mind when the reader is not carefully focused on drilling down into the details.

Separately, in today’s coronasteria, the front page of the New York Times screams “Global Coronavirus Death Toll Surpasses Half a Million”. Drilling down into the story, the reader will find no comparisons to what other causes of death might afflict the world’s 7.8 billion humans (none of whom are “illegal”!). He/she/ze/they will not learn that, for example, “Up to 650 000 people die of respiratory diseases linked to seasonal flu each year” (WHO).

Related:

  • Politifact rates Donald Trump’s tweet “As of June 23, the COVID-19 death rate is ‘way down.'” “mostly true” (i.e., it is “partly false” to say that a downward trend is “down”)
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