Psychobiology of subcultures
In Chapter 15, Bloom describes how humans are hard wired differently from each other much more than most realize.
Our brains differ as much as our bodies. Indeed, they may differ more. One part of the brain, the anterior commissure...varies seven fold in area between one person and the next. Another part, the massa intermedia..., is not found at all in one in four people. The primary visual cortex can vary three-fold in area. Something called our amygdala (it is responsible for our fears and loves) can vary two-fold in volume - as can something called our hippocampus (involved in memory). Most surprisingly, our cerebral cortex varies in non-learning impaired people nearly two-fold in volume. (p. 143)
Dr. John Robert Skoyles
This has a lot of implications, that people are wired to respond wildly differently to the same environment, that we may perceive the world in very different ways, etc. One interesting detail is the interaction of parents and children.
Because human infants react differently to the same potentially stressful events, several children growing up in the same household will each perceive a vastly different environment. What's more, a baby wailing unstoppably at three a.m. trips a different frame of mind in parents than a cuddly infant who sleeps through the night and whose tears can be turned to smiles almost instantly. Other researchers agree with Kagan that an infant partially shapes its parents' behavior, molding the contours of what it and it alone perceives as the nature of its family. (p. 149)
This is also about the only section in the book where Bloom describes in detail the "Inner Judges" function of the five part learning system. These are interior processes that determine how we feel and interact with the culture, involving everything from chemical changes at the cellular level to changes in personality.
In one shocking example, Bloom mentions how inner judges are at work even in the womb. Twins in utero may behave differently, with one dominant and one introverted, with this interaction continuing after birth.
Now here's the rub. Many of us are conceived as twins. Roughly 150 million people alive today are victors in a competition with a brother or sister who never made it past the early embryonic stage. We helped kill them off well before birth. (p. 147)
At the end of the book, Bloom describes the inner judges as part of the learning system's sorting function, in a sense part of natural selection. "For referees are sorters...sorters of three kinds: inner-judges planted in the tissues of our bodies and our minds; resource shifters couched in mass psychology; and intergroup tournaments determining which tribe or species wins the contests between social teams." (p. 221) Edited by: LanDroid at: 2/21/03 10:57:47 pm