More TestTube Plus:
Is Terrorism Human Nature?
How Our Brains Force Us to Stereotype
Each week on TestTubePlus, we cover one topic from multiple angles. This week, we are covering stereotypes: why do they exist, why does it seem so hard to get rid of them, and how did they become such a big part of who we are? For the first episode of this five-part series, Trace discussed how our brains are wired to stereotype. Today: how racist are video games?
Have you ever noticed how many video game heroes are six-foot-two, generic-looking dark-haired males? Just take a look at your game library: Mass Effect, Uncharted, Watchdogs, Red Dead Redemption, Metal Gear Solid, are just a few examples. On the other hand, there's a tendency to portray black men as aggressive, witty, and sometimes obnoxious characters. Take a look at Cole from Gears of War, Sarge from Halo, and Sam B from Dead Island. And this may be instigating racism. A study published by Ohio State University found that when white gamers who were forced to play as African American characters, they were more likely to associate negative behaviors with people of color, and act more aggressively towards them afterward.
But it's not just video games that enforce stereotypes. Trace takes a look at stereotypes you may have never realized existed in hip hop and country music, and even TV commercials and Hollywood movies.
TestTube Plus is built for enthusiastic science fans seeking out comprehensive conversations on the geeky topics they love. Each week, host Trace Dominguez probes deep to unearth the details, latest developments, and opinions on big topics like fear, terrorism, alcohol, survival, black holes, the history of religion, dreams, space travel, and more.
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Figure of the Stereotyping Network (Nature.com)
"Neural structures that underlie components of intergroup stereotyping. Semantic information stored in the lateral temporal lobe - especially representations of stereotype-related knowledge about people and social groups in the anterior temporal lobe (ATL) - is recruited into the dorsal medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) to support the formation of impressions (that is, stereotypes) and, in conjunction, into the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) to support goal-directed actions that are guided by these stereotypes."
Your brain on stereotypes and brand identities (The Brain Alchemist)
"What comes to mind when you read the following list: 'Emigrant Savings Bank, Dakota Roadhouse, St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church, Starbucks, Equinox, Club Remix, Bank of New York, Shinjuku Sushi, New York City Law Department, Amish Market'?
How about this one: 'Ground Zero Mosque'?"
The Power of Categories (NPR.org)
"Alix and Lulu examine how categories define us - how, if given a chance, humans will jump into one category or another. People need them, want them. This show looks at what categories provide for us."