Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Vox Popoli: Mailvox: from participation prize to SJW (On the effect on learning)

A reader drops some recent science on us:
The following is part of a comment at a subscription-only site that caught my attention, as it tied in so well with the shrunken-amygdala discussions held so often at VP.  It's forwarded with permission of the comment's author, with the bold/italics in the original:

How have humans been turned into snowflakes where emotions are in control and learning has been suppressed?  This article explains it.  When reward is uncertain (even if 90% likely), learning in the medial prefrontal cortex is enabled by the dopaminergic reward seeking system.  But if reward is certain, the learning circuits of the medial prefrontal cortex are disabled. 

It makes perfect sense from an evolutionary point of view; if you already know enough to get the reward with certainty, there is no point in wasting further effort to learn more. 

What pertaining to rewards has critically changed over the past couple of generations?  Everyone now receives a reward for participating!  Not just the winner of the race.  Not just the smart student who studied hard and aced the test.  Everybody gets an unconditional hence certain reward.

These unconditional rewards have turned off learning.  The younger generation is broadly liberal and progressive because their ability to learn has been systematically shut off since childhood.  No wonder they act like spoiled children.  They have never learned to grow up!

We have a very big and very serious generational problem.  Those unconditional rewards aren’t just silly; they are literally mentally crippling.

I'm not sufficiently familiar with the science, but I have to wonder if this phenomenon actually re-inforces the under-development of the amygdalae in susceptible individuals, so that the "participation trophy syndrome" has helped to make the SJWs even worse than they might have been.

I have always known that learning how to compete, how to win, and how to lose, is important, but I never had any idea that a failure to do so might lead to literal insanity. It also explains why SJWs are never able to learn from their past mistakes.