An interesting study finding neuro-physiological parallels between white supremacy and addiction.

The study focuses on the dopamine “high”, but fails to recognize the potential neuro-physiological pain-avoidance “withdrawal” factor associated with group/tribal identity. 1/
I’ve previously analyzed how an addiction model may explain confirmation bias, tribalism, conspiracy theory susceptibility, and cult allegiance…..2/
Basically, my observation involved the similarities in the effects that addiction and political tribalism had on personal relationships: 3/
Initially, there appeared to be an “addiction” to the outrage, anger, or fear. But then I came across research explaining dopamine, which is related to the reward center of the brain, in terms of “subjective utility”. This got me thinking about confirmation bias. 5/
When viewed through the lens of confirmation bias, it seemed possible the “addiction” wasn’t to the anger/fear, the addiction was occurring due to repeatedly having their subjective beliefs confirmed.

The anger/fear/outrage was simply the by-product of the addictive process. 6/
But, here is where the article/study about White Supremacy may not go far enough.

As I recently discussed with @tarasetmayer on the @smerconishshow, this addictive process may have a second, compounding factor to it because…..7/
….research has shown neuroanatomical regions associated with physically painful experiences exhibit increased activity when people experience social exclusion or separation (as explained in this thread about Qanon): 8/
As mentioned above, dopamine is related to the “reward system” of the brain, and is involved in the pleasurable experiences related to sex and gambling.

Dopamine is also associated with the high experienced with cocaine use/addiction. 15/
Similar to social exclusion/separation, pain/discomfort avoidance is also a factor in other addictions:

The “DTs” experienced by alcoholics who suddenly quit drinking....and also with opioid/heroin withdrawal.

"Relapse" actually provides relief from withdrawal symptoms. 16/
With this as a backdrop, political tribalism (and cultism?), may be conceptualized using an addiction model where there's a cocaine-like hit on the front end that pulls them in...

...and an opioid-like withdrawal that prevents them from pushing/pulling away on the back end. 17/
But there’s another important factor at play in this process that not only appears to contribute to tribalism, confirmation bias, and conspiracy theory susceptibility, but perhaps also radicalization and white supremacy.

That factor: “anticipation”. 18/
Or, as Robert Sapolsky explains in this short video:

The power of “maybe”.

Watch this, and then keep reading:

Now let’s circle back to the white supremacists in the article.

It’s important to consider that narcissism/sociopathy may be a factor in white supremacy….or at least have a similar presentation of “symptoms”: 20/

And if narcissism is a component of white supremacy, the act or the "anticipation" of receiving *narcissistic supply* (repeatedly being told you’re superior/more “supreme” than every non-white/non-Christian human being) may produce a dopamine hit: 21/
After I wrote the original addiction model thread, @lululemew shared a study by @nafeehamid that's not only relevant to the addiction model hypothesis & the white supremacy study above….but’s it’s also relevant to past and future incidents of political violence in the U.S. 22/
One take-away from the study is the role that “sacred values” play in the culture war escalation into political violence… well as with white supremacy: 23/
Similar to the pain avoidance brain scans analyzed above, the videos explain why politicians (Trump/MTG) and media personalities (Carlson/Bannon/etc.) that use their influence/platforms to enflame divisiveness are so incredibly dangerous to society. 24/
This also explains why otherwise decent/rational people have become unrecognizable over the last 5 years, because, as explained in the video, social exclusion causes people’s “sacred values” to expand…presumably beyond actual, moral values.

This has real world application. 25/
For example, a recent study found that 47 million Americans believe that Biden is an “illegitimate” president. And of those 47 million people, 21 million of them believe that violence should be used to restore Trump to the presidency. 26/…
Read that again.

Twenty-one million people believe violence is justified to put Trump back in office.

Or perhaps when looking at this research through the lens of @nafeeshamid’s work, 21 million people expanded their “sacred values” to include political violence. 27/
As I’ve recently written when analyzing “trickle down irrationality”, this statistic highlights one of the dangerous effects of disinformation on otherwise rational/good people: 28/
This research is also relevant to the anti-mask/anti-vax movement that has included increasingly violent rhetoric that has, in some cases, gone beyond just violent ideation/threats…... 29/

This research also helps explain the psychology of victimhood, and how it factors into the “stop the steal” and the anti-vax movements. Essentially, Trump supporters and/or anti-vaxxers find a sense of community with other *victims* who also feel excluded from society. 30/
The constant manipulation of people's neuropsychological fear responses…..(thread) 31
....And the constant barrage of “othering” rhetoric by the Right Wing Media Echo Chamber has created a hyper-vigilant, highly-anxious, emotionally reactive segment of society that has expanded its core values to, in some cases, include violence. 32/
In a previous, thread I’ve analyzed how *victim identity* expands not only the “sacred values”, but perception of the rights/permission structure to engage in “pre-emptive” retaliation. 33/
It’s infuriating to listen to countless people who were unaware of/didn’t care about the “othering” that has occurred during the first 245 years of this country, suddenly, and snowflake-ingly, embrace victimhood when they feel like an “other”. 34/
But, we don’t solve a problem be engaging in the same problematic behavior because…..35/
… Christian @CPicciolini points out, this …… 36/
All that being said, things won’t/can’t get better until more influential people on the Right have the courage to stand up, condemn, and refute the disinformation, the lies, and the conspiracy theories……37/
But as was seen recently when Trump and Lindsey Graham were booed when mentioning vaccines, even that may not be enough anymore ....40/
For more on the addiction model analysis, particularly the 50/50 anticipation-to-reward dopamine optimization factor that was recently expose with Facebook.....43/
Rewrote the above thread as an article (no paywall): 45/
@johannhari101's research/work on addiction and connection is especially relevant in the context of the white supremacist/addiction model context: 46/…

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More from @Nick_Carmody

10 Oct
Yes, Trump supporting Christian right engaged in moral compromisation (the "ends justifies the means") create moral authority. The moral compromisation occurred when the evangelicals adopted the "flawed leader" narrative to justify their support of Trump. 1/
Thread the moral compromisation of evangelicals' "Flawed leader" narrative....2/....
Read 21 tweets
3 Oct
The Right:

"Covid is a scam, perpetuated by the Left to steal our freedom/autonomy, and to create a permanent state of governmental/physiological (microchipped vaccines) control."

Also the Right:

"Mexican/Central American immigrants are spreading a deadly virus across America"
Read 4 tweets
2 Oct
Imagine how the Right Wing Media Echo Chamber and Republicans would be reacting if, in 2016, Hillary Clinton (who conceded w/in 24 hours) claimed the election was stolen despite:

- Obama's Attorney General finding no evidence the election was stolen

- Obama's DOJ publicly finding no evidence the election was stolen

- Obama's Department of Homeland Security finding no evidence the election was stolen

- Obama's FBI finding no evidence the election was stolen

- And eighty-six state and federal judges, many of them appointed by Bill Clinton and Obama, and including a Supreme Court with 3 Obama appointees...finding no evidence the election was stolen....

Read 12 tweets
2 Oct
A really interesting thread using Ivermectin as a lens with which to observe tribalism/cultism, confirmation bias, cognitive processes, ego/identity investment, cognitive dissonance, etc. I'll marry the corresponding tweets/threads below: 1/
Let's start with cognitive dissonance:
Thread analyzing dopamine optimization, and how cult predictions or belief-debunking facts may actually reinforce dopamine optimization, and therefore cause people to re-invest in the conspiracy/belief: 2/
Read 9 tweets

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