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Genetic Disorder Removes Racial Bias and Social Fear 319

People who suffer from a rare genetic disorder called Williams Syndrome have a complete lack of social fear. They experience no anxiety or concerns about meeting new people or being put into any social situation, and a new study by Andreia Santos suggests that they also don't have any racial bias. From the article: "Typically, children start overtly gravitating towards their own ethnic groups from the tender age of three. Groups of people from all over the globe and all sorts of cultures show these biases. Even autistic children, who can have severe difficulties with social relationships, show signs of racial stereotypes. But Santos says that the Williams syndrome kids are the first group of humans devoid of such racial bias, although, as we’ll see, not everyone agrees."


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Genetic Disorder Removes Racial Bias and Social Fear

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  • Friendly people (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sopssa ( 1498795 ) * <> on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @03:40PM (#31848732) Journal

    TFA notes this

    Santos suggests that children with Williams syndrome don’t develop the same biases that their peers do, because they don’t experience social fear. Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg, who led the study, says, “There are hyper-social, very empathetic, very friendly, and do not get danger signals.” And because they’ll freely interact with anyone, they are less likely to cultivate a preference for people of their own ethnic groups. Alternatively, it could be that because they don’t fall prey to stereotypes, they’re more likely to socialise with everyone.

    I think that's the cause, not because theres some difference in genes that makes you lose racial bias. They're friendly people and open to anyone. Rasism comes from not being open and friendly to people you think are somehow different.

    But their complete lack of social fear is also a bad thing because not everyone are so and they might get hurt because of it. It's better than the other way more with geeky people though - I had trouble speaking to people or be open with them and it obviously got in the way of my relationships too. Somehow that changed when I was put in to social situations (with the help of beer) and got myself in to an relationship. Yes, one girl actually fell in love with me and because I acted like an open and social guy I kind of had to continue doing it. It took its time but it made an everlasting change to me, and now I can talk about things openly, be social and be friendly to people.

  • Why such terms? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by trifish ( 826353 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @03:41PM (#31848744)

    You call it a "genetic disorder", I call it the "evolution".

  • Re:Why such terms? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @03:47PM (#31848826) Journal
    Probably because of all its serious side effects, many of them rather less charming?

    These aren't just "Normal people; but they love everybody and stuff", they suffer from a variety of serious cognitive deficiencies and health problems.
  • Re:Why such terms? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @04:00PM (#31849008) Homepage

    It's "evolution" only if it's a trait that increases the likelihood of survival and reproduction. Not being socially afraid of anybody might increase one's chances of reproducing, but a lack of defensiveness can also open one up to various dangers, the kinds that can remove one from the gene pool before reaching reproductive age. I don't see this trait becoming common.

  • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @04:05PM (#31849054) Homepage Journal

    Nah. They just turn sideways with their left arms pointed outwards. And in this particular picture, they also bent their elbows sideways, though this is optional.

    What I don't envy is the person on top of the ladder taking the photo....

  • Re:The grey race (Score:3, Insightful)

    by f8l_0e ( 775982 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @04:08PM (#31849108)
    Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from the movie "Bullworth."

    "Everybody just got to keep fucking everybody till we're all the same color."
  • Re:Friendly people (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @04:35PM (#31849514)
    I disagree -- babies prefer to look at people that look like their parents! I don't believe babies have any awareness of their own skin color. My daughter has a white father and black mother. She looks just like her mother, but prefers to hang out with people that look like her father, with which she is much more strongly bonded.
  • Re:Why such terms? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @04:46PM (#31849658)

    My daughter . . . would gladly hug the nice homeless man who is yelling at god and drinking a paper bag.

    If anyone ever needed a hug, it would probably be that guy.

    I can understand that your daughter's condition wouldn't have exactly been advantageous during the time of the Huns, but today she'd probably fit in all right and would be a great person to know and be around.

  • Agreed. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by elucido ( 870205 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @04:52PM (#31849734)

    Babies prefer to look at people who look like their parents, or who look like they do. It's not because the baby has a concept of race but because the baby probably never has seen someone who looked like that before. If you are a baby surrounded by blonde white people and an asian face is shown to you then you are going to freak out if you've never seen a face like that before even if the face is beautiful.

  • by DomNF15 ( 1529309 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @05:05PM (#31849974)
    You learned the difference - but our ancestors survived because they instinctively associated "does not look like me" with "will kill and/or eat me", not necessarily "wants the exact same thing we need to survive", as the GP mentioned...
  • Asocial behavior? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by neosaurus ( 1621105 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @05:16PM (#31850156)
    I wonder what the implications of a lack of social fear result in. Would these individuals be more likely to commit asocial activities? A lack of fear of being ridiculed might make one of them come up with a radical theory while it might make another commit a crime without thinking of the social implications.
  • Re:Why such terms? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CannonballHead ( 842625 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @05:27PM (#31850282)

    wouldn't have exactly been advantageous during the time of the Huns, but today she'd probably fit in all right and would be a great person to know and be around.

    Ah ... because ... people are morally better now? Girls no longer get kidnapped, raped, and murdered? People no longer become under the influence of substantives which make them more dangerous? (note - I know that not all drugs make you dangerous, but some certainly do impair your judgement)

    Open violence may be less, but people are just as selfish, self-serving, egotistical, and evil. We have gotten good at generally hiding it, since we mostly have everything we typically want, in western civilization anyways.

  • by elucido ( 870205 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @05:45PM (#31850504)

    My ancestors survived by forming a tribe and killing members of the opposing tribe whether they looked like them or not. Tribe is not the same as race. Tribe is a matter of language, culture, and gene pools.

    I'm tribal, I'm not racial.

  • What I'm saying is none of these social constructs are based on science

    Cutting you off right there chief. Albinoism is a lack of melanin in the skin. Melanin can be imperically measured... SCIENCE! The color of your skin, your hair color, and the shape of your eyes are not a social construct.

    the group of people they use stereotypes on can just as easily create and use stereotypes as a weapon against them. And I'd go so far as to say this would be the ethical thing to do because the only way to show a bully why something is wrong is to do it to them so they can experience how it feels.

    When the jock gets passed up on a job for being too blonde, too fit, too good looking, he will know how it feels and will learn "THATS WRONG!" and when this happens eventually he will learn "THAT IS BULLSHIT! RACE IS BULLSHIT!".

    Frankly this rant is the kind of nonsenical garbage that I would expect to come from someone who's mommy didn't hug him enough as a child...

    But until he learns that I'm fine with discriminating against him because if someone believes stereotypes should apply to others, it should apply to them as well.

    So why should I hire a racist? If they believe in races over believing in genetics then they are no better than individuals who don't believe in evolution.

    I don't think people are talking about imbred Billy Bob talking about how he "hates thum darkies". At least not with regard to this particular article. I believe they're talking about instinctual subconscious favoritism, which I believe exists.

    As far as I'm concerned they behave as a race, and they think and act alike so the stereotype applies until they decide to grow up.

    So you're racist then, since you seem to hate them?

    The worst thing you can do is simply sit back and let the dumbest most retarded ignorant among us take control of and hijack all the stereotypes, do all the discrimination, and create countless numbers of victims without consequence. So would I hire someone who I suspect to be a racist?

    Indeed, but this isn't helping your argument.

    Sure I'd hire this person, but they shouldn't expect to get a high salary or get promoted, they can be the janitor.

    And this is completely ethical because only the enlightened should be rewarded. Ignorance should never be rewarded and this is the problem with concepts like race, it primarily rewards the ignorant at the expense of the intelligent.

    So you're saying that, without actually knowing for sure, you'd not hire someone on the presupposition that you believe that either they're racist, or you're intimidated by the fact that they're attractive and in shape, and then you go on to accuse THEM of being ignorant?

    Frankly, I'm not sure how to respond, but to be honest, it makes me uncomfortable that you're here.

"To take a significant step forward, you must make a series of finite improvements." -- Donald J. Atwood, General Motors