Differences in social status and politics encourage paranoid thinking

August 1, 2018, University College London
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Differences in social status and political belief increase paranoid interpretations of other people's actions, finds a new UCL experimental study.

Paranoia is the tendency to assume other are trying to harm you when their actual motivations are unclear, and this tendency is increased when interacting with someone of a higher social status or opposing political beliefs, according to the study published today in Royal Society Open Science.

"Being alert to social danger is key to our survival, but our results suggest social difference alone encourages us to think that the other person wants to harm us," said the study's senior author, Professor Nichola Raihani (UCL Psychology & Language Sciences).

"Intense is also a symptom of mental ill health, and is more common among people who perceive themselves to have low social rank. We believe our findings could shed light on why paranoia is more common in those who are struggling on the social ladder and excluded by society," she added.

For the study, 2,030 people participated in an online experiment where they were paired with another person and given a sum of money. Ahead of the experiment, all participants had reported their typical levels of paranoid thinking by filling out a questionnaire, as well as their own perceived social status and their political affiliation along the liberal-conservative spectrum. They were then paired with someone from a higher, lower or similar social status, or with someone who had similar or opposing political beliefs.

In each pair, one person got to decide whether to split the money 50-50 or to keep it all for themselves. The other person was then asked to rate how much they thought the decision was motivated by the decider's self-interest, and how much the decision was likely motivated by the decider wanting to deny them any of the prize—a measure of perceived harmful intent. The roles were then swapped with a new sum of money.

People who were paired with someone with a higher social or with different political beliefs more frequently assumed their partner's decision had been motivated by wanting to cause them harm. In contrast, social difference did not affect how often people assumed their partner was motivated by self-interest.

Researchers also found that the over-perception of other people's harmful intentions occurred at the same rate, regardless of whether participants already had heightened levels of paranoid thinking.

"Our findings suggest that people who struggle with high levels of paranoia are equally well-tuned to social difference despite sometimes seeming that they misperceive the social world. This research may help us understand how exclusion and disadvantage fuel some of the most severe ," said co-author Dr. Vaughan Bell (UCL Psychiatry).

Explore further: London cyclists feel paranoid road users are out to get them

More information: Experimentally-Induced Social Threat Increases Paranoid Thinking, Royal Society Open Science, rsos.royalsocietypublishing.or … /10.1098/rsos.180569

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KBK
5 / 5 (1) Aug 01, 2018
read this (below), and it may become clear as to why the USA is on a path to a forced 'no change' for the poor, they are going to go down to the point of nothingness, or revolution.

They won't be able to fix things, instead, due to the mass of the 9.9% of the US aristocracy - who won't allow them to be re-balanced to a functional norm.

article is form 'the Atlantic' magazine.

The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy, "The class divide is already toxic, and is fast becoming unbridgeable. You're probably part of the problem."

https://www.theat.../559130/

My point is that the bottom most rung of society is paranoid, for all the right reasons - as the aristocracy and the elite above REALLY are out to get them, or to victimize them to the fullest extent possible, all while the 9.9% and the above 0.1% are in a forced obliviousness to the plight that is inflicted.
Whart1984
Aug 01, 2018
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Whart1984
Aug 01, 2018
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
5 / 5 (3) Aug 01, 2018
read this (below), and it may become clear as to why the USA is on a path to a forced 'no change' for the poor, (...)

...due to the mass of the 9.9% of the US aristocracy - who won't allow them to be re-balanced to a functional norm.

The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy, "The class divide is already toxic, and is fast becoming unbridgeable. You're probably part of the problem."

My point is that the bottom most rung of society is paranoid, for all the right reasons - as the aristocracy and the elite above REALLY are out to get them, or to victimize them to the fullest extent possible, all while the 9.9% and the above 0.1% are in a forced obliviousness to the plight that is inflicted.
says KBK

Nonsense - the social equality is only related to financial equality by the willingness to work by the "underclass" who often don't understand that it is hard work and motivation, education and a good attitude towards work that can free the masses from poverty.
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
5 / 5 (3) Aug 01, 2018
-CONTINUED-
The rich and powerful were not always in that category. Everyone is REQUIRED to work his way up the ladder to success, regardless of social and financial standing at the beginning. Paranoia is an indication that the person involved hasn't learned the lesson that life is not a free giveaway, and any free giveaway is necessarily PAID FOR by someone else.

Margaret Thatcher said that: "Socialism is fine, until they run out of other people's money". Socialism is the trick that is used to alleviate the self-inflicted poverty of those who have no desire to work, and whose minds are made up that they are being discriminated against somehow, both socially and financially, due to their self-imposed circumstances.
SELF-IMPOSED POVERTY is most often preceded by the ideology that they are "OWED" something. They are owed a living and material things by society, as well as to be socially accepted in upper social echelons without changing their own standing first.
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
5 / 5 (3) Aug 01, 2018
"There is not smoke without fire: the wealthy are plotting to leave us behind. Since 1980, US lawmakers have redistributed income from the poor to the wealthy on a massive scale. American exceptionalism rises the questions, what the rich people are really doing with their money. The higher the inequality, the more likely we are to move away from democracy." says Whart1984

You hyperlinked which eliminated the remainder of your post.
Are you aware that it is the rich 10% of the US population that PROVIDE THE JOBS? Poor and middle class people can't provide jobs for those who actually WANT TO WORK. A large percentage of the financial gain that the rich and influential own is invested right back into their companies/corporations that are wealth-producing entities. It is the workers who are the recipients of that invested wealth. The investors gain a profit ONLY if the business is successful. And, most often, investors and business owners, and even the workers contribute to the poor.
J-n
not rated yet Aug 03, 2018
Those who live in poorer neighborhoods usually have underfunded, and poorly performing schools. This leads to an inferrior education, which leads to lessened chances of further education, and lower paying jobs.

Jobs in the United States at the lower end are usually those that used to be soley for 'Kids' so often aren't looked on as deserving of livable wages (something to support a family is laughable), so most people in the United States who are 'Poor' Already have jobs and are working. (Remember welfare in the USA is gone, TANIF funds only go to those who work, or are actively seeking work, or higher education)

There are doubtlessly some who will be plucked from the lower tiers to be placed in positions where they can pass the wealth torch (Inheritance, Connections, better schools, private schools, money to assist with college, parents who have jobs that allow them to be home with their kids when needed, health insurance, better food choices, etc), --- CONT.
J-n
not rated yet Aug 03, 2018
-- CONT.
Many hard workers who toil their whole lives, scrimping and saving will have little to nothing to pass on to the next generation. Meaning they will be unable to provide the leg-up that is required to start a family on the path towards being able to build wealth.

Bosses, Executives and stock holders only make the money they do, because they are in the power to set their own pay. The Rich create the jobs because they are Rich, not because they are morally better, infact they set the payscales such that the rich keep getting richer and the lower tiers are left to dwindle with sub-inflation raises.

If what is claimed about businesess paying their employees fairly were true (profits go to the workers) we would see far less stockholder gain vs employee raises.

Generally the poor contribute far more to the Poor than the rich (as a percentage of income).

The idea of the Lazy Poor is very comforting to some, but quite rare. Suburban life is quite sheltered.
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
5 / 5 (3) Aug 04, 2018

@J-n

If that is what you believe, then when do you think that the race war or the war against those Capitalist pigs will begin? I know for a fact that all of the poverty stricken schools and cities in the US are led by Democrat Party politicians, and have been led by them for almost a century.
Perhaps you haven't heard the news and instead have been listening to CNN and believing their lies and omissions that omit that workers have been getting pay raises since Trump was elected and jobs are coming back to the US from overseas. Also, you may not have heard or ignored the news that North Korea has returned many remains of American military servicemen who were killed in the Korean War. And you may not have heard that unemployment among Blacks and Hispanics, as well as Whites and Asians is at an all-time low.

But keep believing the lies that you are fed by the mainstream media and the Democrat Party, and when the war starts in the US, get your plane tickets to Mexico. Or wherever
IwinUlose
1 / 5 (3) Aug 04, 2018
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Aug 06, 2018
We expect tribal behavior and are rarely disappointed. And no, it's not an emotional abherration. Humans are tribal. Social groups and politics are inherently tribal. The tribal dynamic - internal altruism in conjunction with external animosity - destroys objectivity. Tribal behaviors automatically elicit a tribal response.

Tribalism is bigotry.

This is all natural and these researchers know this.

With these realities in mind we can look at articles like the above and identify the tribal political message...

"Intense paranoia is also a symptom of mental ill health, and is more common among people who perceive themselves to have low social rank"

-when deciphered, reads

"The less educated tend to be sicker mentally which is why they distrust liberals, who really mean them no harm."

Liberals dont recognize their own tribalist biases because their 'educations' have taught them that they are above such weaknesses.

They're obviously just as human as the rest of us.

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