Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Reacting to Injustice

The sense of justice has been traced to the amygdala. "The study is based on the universal human behaviour to react with instant aggression when another person behaves unfairly and in a manner that is not in the best interest of the group." They observe too that people will often punish others even at a cost to themselves -- a result well known and well established by game theory. This sense of justice, and universal reaction should of course be found throughout literature. But note that the refusal to accept an unfair deal is what is traced to the amygdala. And that there are gender differences. Thus, one should expect to see men reacting more violently to unfair situations, and women accepting unfair situations, even while complaining about it as much as men do -- in life as in literature. Consider Achilles' reaction to having his prize taken from him, resulting in the action of The Iliad.

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