Psychologists shed light on origins of morality

Posted at, for fair use only
Keywords used in Wikipedia: Morality, Human Evolution, Neuroscience, Neurosociology, Neuroeconomics

In everyday language, people sometimes say that immoral behaviours “leave a bad taste in your mouth”. But this may be more than a metaphor according to new scientific evidence from the University of Toronto that shows a link between moral disgust and more primitive forms of disgust related to poison and disease.

“Morality is often pointed to as the pinnacle of human evolution and development,” says lead author Hanah Chapman, a graduate student in the Department of Psychology. “However, disgust is an ancient and rather primitive emotion which played a key evolutionary role in survival. Our research shows the involvement of disgust in morality, suggesting that moral judgment may depend as much on simple emotional processes as on complex thought.” The research is being published in Science on February 27, 2009.

In the study, the scientists examined facial movements when participants tasted unpleasant liquids and looked at photographs of disgusting objects such as dirty toilets or injuries. They compared these to their facial movements when they were subjected to unfair treatment in a laboratory game. The U of T team found that people make similar facial movements in response to both primitive forms of disgust and moral disgust.

The research employed electromyography, a technique that uses small electrodes placed on the face to detect electrical activation that occurs when the facial muscles contract. In particular, they focused on movement of the levator labii muscle, which acts to raise the upper lip and wrinkle the nose, movements that are thought to be characteristic of the facial expression of disgust. Continue reading

Reis naar een land dat niet meer bestaat (16/16)

Dubravka:  Split, Zondag 26 Juni 1988, 02:00

Lichtjes beneveld arriveren we op mijn kamer. Een mistige roes gaat af en aan in mijn hoofd. Wat moet ik met dit bizar pla n van Djevojka. Ik moet in beweging blijven, niet nadenken, doen. We dansen om beurten met Ferre. Ik weet niet of ik dit wil of niet. Maar ik en Djevojka hebben een pakt gesloten. Wij zijn om beurten dirigent en solist, de koninginnen die harten doen smelten. De mannen spelen de tweede partituur. Terwijl ik met Ferre dans, gaat Djevojka languit op het bed liggen. Daardoor schuift haar kleed omhoog en zie je een tipje van haar slipje. Ik word er zelfs een beetje geil van. Is dat nu de bedoeling? Als we wisselen neemt Ferre, die toch ook al flink in de wind is, haar poes boven haar slipje. Dat komt ervan. Als hij haar preutje loslaat tijdens het dansen, leidt ze er zijn hand terug naartoe maar nu onder haar slipje. Ze geniet duidelijk van zijn strelingen en geneert zich niet voor mij. Ik kan niet meer volgen.

‘Ja se osjećam vruće, topim,’ (Ik heb het warm, ik smelt) zucht ik. Ik moet iets doen.

‘Ja ću pomoći,’ (ik zal je helpen) antwoordt Djevojka. Ze doet de nog resterende knopjes van mijn bloes open en doet die traag uit.

We giechelen allebei en we beginnen met mekaar te dansen. We dansen dicht bij elkaar. Djevojka wrijft met haar wang tegen mijn wang. Haar heupen schuiven tegen mijn heupen. Ik voel de warmte uit haar schoot stralen. Ik streel  over haar mooie kont en duw haar tegen me aan, mijn handen glijden ongedurig over haar achterbillen alsof ik haar wil optillen waardoor haar kleed naar omhoog schuift. De tepels van Djevojka zijn hard. Het maakt me geil. Maar Ferre is ook nog wakker. Hij kan het niet laten eens langs die prachtige dijen van Djevojka te strelen en nog even zijn hand tussen haar billen te laten glijden voor hij zich – straks komen onze handen daar mekaar nog tegen – op een stoel, mijn enige stoel, laat zakken.

‘Vruće…’ zuchte Djevojka en ze laat haar kleedje zakken op haar heupen. Continue reading

WRI public statement on the bomb attack on Greek Conscientous Objectors

WRI public statement, 26 Feb 2009

(WRI stands for War Resisters International)

The War Resisters’ International (WRI), an international network of 82 affiliates in 43 countries, including Greece, condemns the terrifying attack on its associate, Association of Greek Conscientious Objectors.

On the Tuesday 24 February night, at around 10 pm, and while there was in full progress an open meeting against the new Greek army armaments plan, hosted by the Greek Association of Conscientious Objectors, an unknown person threw a hand grenade at the building that the meeting was taking place and then run away. The perpetrator tried to throw a hand grenade inside the meeting hall through the window. Fortunately, there was double-glazing and only the outside glass broke, bouncing off the hand grenade into the pavement, just outside the building. From the explosion, some glass windows in the surrounding buildings were broken and damage was caused in the pavement. But thankfully, and only due to sheer luck, no one was harmed, against, apparently, the clear intention of the perpetrator to kill.

The War Resisters’ International is extremely concerned about this particular attempt to kill Greek antimilitarists and the general rise of fear and insecurity in Greece, specially for activists in Greece. The spirit of December 2008 (when the killing of Alexandoros Grigoropoulos provoked mass protests throughout Greece) is obviously still alive among different activist groups in Greece and WRI supports their struggle to end the circle of violence. The rise of extreme right wing groups which spread fear and threaten the very life of people cannot be tolerated. Not anywhere in the world, not in Greece.

The War Resisters’ International calls upon Greek authorities to undercover the perpetrator and unmask the motives behind this terrible act.

The War Resisters’ International calls other antimilitarist and pacifist groups to express solidarity with Greek COs in their struggle.
Continue reading

Climate Fears Are Driving ‘Ecomigration’ Across Globe

Published on Monday, February 23, 2009 by the Washington Post

Author: Shankar Vedantam

Adam Fier recently sold his home, got rid of his car and pulled his twin 6-year-old girls out of elementary school in Montgomery County. He and his wife packed the family’s belongings and moved to New Zealand — a place they had never visited or seen before, and where they have no family or professional connections. Among the top reasons: global warming.

Adam Fier, wife Misbah Sadat and daughters Maya and Maha moved to New Zealand partly out of climate concerns. (By Leah L. Jones For The Washington Post)

Halfway around the world, the president of Kiribati, a Pacific nation of low-lying islands, said last week that his country is exploring ways to move all its 100,000 citizens to a new homeland because of fears that a steadily rising ocean will make the islands uninhabitable.

The two men are at contrasting poles of a phenomenon that threatens to reshape economies, politics and cultures across the planet. By choice or necessity, millions of “ecomigrants” — most of them poor and desperate — are on the move in search of more habitable living space. Continue reading

Unemployment, working poor and vulnerable employment to increase dramatically due to global economic crisis

Published at ILO on 28 jan 2009

GENEVA (ILO News) – The global economic crisis is expected to lead to a dramatic increase in the number of people joining the ranks of the unemployed, working poor and those in vulnerable employment, the International Labour Office (ILO) says in its annual Global Employment Trends report (GET) (Note 1).

Based on new developments in the labour market and depending on the timeliness and effectiveness of recovery efforts, the report says global unemployment in 2009 could increase over 2007 by a range of 18 million to 30 million workers, and more than 50 million if the situation continues to deteriorate.

The ILO report also said that in this last scenario some 200 million workers, mostly in developing economies, could be pushed into extreme poverty.

“The ILO message is realistic, not alarmist. We are now facing a global jobs crisis. Many governments are aware and acting, but more decisive and coordinated international action is needed to avert a global social recession. Progress in poverty reduction is unravelling and middle classes worldwide are weakening. The political and security implications are daunting”, said ILO Director-General, Juan Somavia.

“The crisis is underscoring the relevance of the ILO Decent Work Agenda. We find many elements of this Agenda in current measures to promote job creation, deepening and expanding social protection and more use of social dialogue”, Mr. Somavia said. He called on the upcoming meeting of the G-20 on 2 April in London, alongside financial issues, to urgently agree on priority measures to promote productive investments, decent work and social protection objectives, and policy coordination. Continue reading

ILO meeting to discuss employment crunch in the financial sector

Published at ILO, 23 February 2009

Keywords also in Wikipedia:  Globalisation, Credit Crunch, Financial Crisis, Economy, Employment, Trade Unions, Social Movement, ILO

GENEVA (ILO News) – More than 100 senior representatives of governments, workers’ and employers’ organizations, gather here on 24-25 February to discuss the impact of the economic crisis on the more than 20 million people employed in the financial sector worldwide.

A new ILO report prepared for the meeting says jobs in financial services around the world have been strongly affected, with announced layoffs exceeding 325,000 between August 2007 and 12 February 2009.

With close to 40 per cent of the above losses, or 130,000 lost jobs, announced from October 2008 to 12 February 2009, the report also sees a rapid acceleration in financial services job cuts over recent months.

“These figures almost certainly understate the real situation in a sector which has been at the epicentre of the financial and economic crisis”, said Elizabeth Tinoco, Chief of the ILO’s Sectoral Activities Branch. “As the global economy sinks further into recession, and financial institutions’ assets experience even greater impairment, the industry’s job losses can be expected to rise even faster.”

The report defines the financial sector as being comprised of employees in the banking industry (retail banking and wholesale banking acting on national, regional or global financial markets); the insurance industry and re-insurance; and other financial intermediaries (e.g. hedge funds, mutual funds, wealth management firms, insurance agents and financial advisors, etc.).

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