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Believing You Are Very Good Or Evil Boosts Your Physical Capabilities 192

Posted by samzenpus
from the strength-of-heart dept.
Research by Kurt Gray, a doctoral student in psychology at Harvard, shows that a person's capacity for willpower and physical endurance increases if they perceive themselves as good or evil. "Evil" acts in particular give a person a large boost in physical strength. From the article: “'People perceive those who do good and evil to have more efficacy, more willpower, and less sensitivity to discomfort,' Gray said. 'By perceiving themselves as good or evil, people embody these perceptions, actually becoming more capable of physical endurance.' Gray’s findings run counter to the notion that only those blessed with heightened willpower or self-control are capable of heroism, suggesting instead that simply attempting heroic deeds can confer personal power."
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Believing You Are Very Good Or Evil Boosts Your Physical Capabilities

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  • by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Monday June 28, 2010 @12:04PM (#32717442)
    The force is strong in this one.
    • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Monday June 28, 2010 @01:28PM (#32718848) Journal

      I really hate that scene. Lucas dropped that line to try to move the "force" from being Fantasy Fiction magic (and quell complaints that Star Wars is not science fiction). But it still doesn't explain what "the force" is supposed to be. Are the midichlorians a bunch of tiny wizards ala Harry Potter casing "force" spells everywhere? It's still just nonsense.

      This is why I hate Fantasy that tries itself off as "a possible future" science fiction reality. No. No. No. I'm sorry but there will never be magic in our universe..... maybe in some neighboring universe, but not in ours

      For more info, I recommend this excellent video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDNrnpefGio [youtube.com]

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Cicada7 (1051002)
        "Any significantly advanced technology..", yadda yadda, you all know the quote.

        To anyone living prior to the 1900's, television, the internet, cell phones.. they'd all be magic. You could certainly try to explain the technology away, but likely the explination would also be significantly advanced enough to be percieved as magic. Electron tunneling whoosawhatsits? I just wants my fancy movin' picture porn to come on over the tubes and light up my screen!
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by OakDragon (885217)

          Electron tunneling whoosawhatsits? I just wants my fancy movin' picture porn to come on over the tubes and light up my screen!

          Which is pretty much the response you'd get right now, today.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by thesandtiger (819476)

        Midichlorians may simply be organisms that are capable of exerting heretofore unknown forces in the universe or modifying the interactions of currently known forces (suppressing, increasing, reversing them, whatever). Plants, for example, seem to use quantum entanglement as a part of photosynthesis, according to some recent news stories I've read - why couldn't there be other organisms out there that take advantage of other quirks of physics?

        Or maybe they're organisms that have evolved that feed on force en

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by spun (1352)

          The explanation is bullshit. We are supposed to believe that this blaster having, light speed exceeding, strong AI using galactic society can not figure out and duplicate the 'quirk of physics' embodied in midichlorians? The explanation is magical precisely because it can not be duplicated or even explained technologically by a sufficiently advanced civilization.

          • by jesset77 (759149)

            The explanation is bullshit. We are supposed to believe that this blaster having, light speed exceeding, strong AI using galactic society can not figure out and duplicate the 'quirk of physics' embodied in midichlorians? The explanation is magical precisely because it can not be duplicated or even explained technologically by a sufficiently advanced civilization.

            Pfft, what's advanced AI and cybernetics when you can't bring back the dead? If they still don't know how the organic brain works well enough to have established immortality, then there's just got to be some limits to their knowings, don't there? :P

            And how strong are the AI really if they aren't running the place?

      • I really hate that scene. Lucas dropped that line to try to move the "force" from being Fantasy Fiction magic (and quell complaints that Star Wars is not science fiction). But it still doesn't explain what "the force" is supposed to be. Are the midichlorians a bunch of tiny wizards ala Harry Potter casing "force" spells everywhere? It's still just nonsense.

        Just look up Orgone and bions [wikipedia.org]. It fits together fairly well complete with a darkside.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by almightyons (1842868)
        If you guys read Asimov's foundation, you should know that Star Wars is just an attempt in taking probably the best series of science fiction ever written and delivering it in a more acessible package for the masses. No, you don't want plausible mutants whith electromagnetic devices that alter other people's perception, you just want a 'force'. Star wars is just Fantasy put in a 80s' hype era.
      • by lymond01 (314120)

        Lucas dropped that line to try to move the "force" from being Fantasy Fiction magic

        I thought it was to move The Force out of religion into science. Of course, I never read that anywhere or heard quotes from Lucas suggesting that. But it's what I think.

  • by Pojut (1027544) on Monday June 28, 2010 @12:04PM (#32717454) Homepage

    What if you are Neutral Neutral...would you just collapse in a heap of jello?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by XanC (644172)

      What makes a man turn neutral? Lust for gold? Power?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Pojut (1027544)

        What makes a man turn neutral? Lust for gold? Power?

        Feh. A man doesn't lust; a man takes. ::fends off the feminists:: I'm just playing my character's alignment! Chauvinist/neutral.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by 0xdeadbeef (28836)

          ::fends off the feminists::

          No, that won't make them touch you, either.

        • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Monday June 28, 2010 @01:30PM (#32718898) Journal

          Sadly you are correct. The men who TAKE are the ones who get sex and marriage (and maybe even some adultery on the side). Us nice guys finish last because women find us "weak" non-confident and unattractive.

          No I'm not bitter. Why do you ask?

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            I'm reasonably certain that the women who find less selfish men unappetizing are the ones who spend their whole days trying to get "bought"--with too much makeup, revealing clothes, spending too much time thinking about fashion and aesthetics, etc. Those same people have been focused on a lot by media because, well, they're the most photogenic, and easy to portray with bad actors.

            To be honest, nice guys deserve better. Hopefully, they will someday learn to stop listening to hyped salespeople in relationsh

            • Just because you dress sexually doesn't mean you're submissive, from a power perspective. It's also quite certain that the world they live in have different ratings of power than yours or mine. In my case, I'm quite certain that there's a lot of emotions involved in these relationships that I can't really feel or understand.
              • I don't equate trying to be "bought" with being submissive. Again, it's a question of salesmanship, and in many cases, sleazy salesmanship.

                Relationships can happen normally, where you find someone you like and you hit it off. You might find you have a lot in common and that you enjoy sharing with one another, and you only rarely rub each other the wrong way.

                Alternately, one side or the other can do a sales pitch, and being a (straight) man myself, I only really watch the women doing it--wearing makeup, cl

            • by jahudabudy (714731) on Monday June 28, 2010 @04:18PM (#32721782)
              I've read before (and found it to be true in subsequent observation) that part of the reason assholes get the girl and nice guys don't is that a lot of "nice guys" have the idea that projecting sexual desire/sexual desirability is "not nice". Probably b/c the methods most young men use to project sexual confidence and desire ARE rude, boorish and assholish. So the nice guy equates sexual aggressiveness with the undesirable methods of expressing this he sees in his peers when he is first developing, and basically emasculates himself in order to be non-threatening (an "asshole" as he sees it). They put themselves out there as a sexual non-entity, so are seen that way by women. Assholes don't care about being non-threatening; they want what they want and don't bother to hide it. So the asshole makes a woman feel desirable, the nice guy makes her feel comfortable.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Xaositecte (897197)

            seriously dude, just pick up the phone, give her a call, and ask her out. It's Summer, go for a walk in the park, picnic, bring some wine if you're old enough.

            Don't play the just friends shit either, specify it's a date. If she's not interested, fine, move on to another one.

            • by Culture20 (968837)

              If she's not interested, fine, move on to another one.

              Nice guys don't date for sex, they date for love or at least "like". "move on to another one" is a bad-boy strategy.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Xaositecte (897197)

                Eh, sex is part of it, a fantastic part, but not the whole.

                "Move on to another one" is the advice I give to "nice guys" who are absolutely fixated on one girl, especially one who clearly isn't interested in them and\or doesn't even know they exist. This is a tremendously common problem.

                Even if you're looking for love above all else, why would you waste your time on someone who isn't interested in you?

                • by Culture20 (968837)

                  Nice guys don't date for sex, they date for love or at least "like". "move on to another one" is a bad-boy strategy.

                  Eh, sex is part of it, a fantastic part, but not the whole.

                  "Move on to another one" is the advice I give to "nice guys" who are absolutely fixated on one girl, especially one who clearly isn't interested in them and\or doesn't even know they exist. This is a tremendously common problem.

                  Even if you're looking for love above all else, why would you waste your time on someone who isn't interested in you?

                  Amendment: Nice guys don't date to be loved, they date because they do love. They're stuck in a romantic notion that if they're nice enough, the one girl they really love will take notice. And they're too nice to date a girl that's 2nd best because they know they couldn't completely commit. BTW, there is an XKCD for this. http://xkcd.com/513/ [xkcd.com]

          • by Chris Burke (6130)

            Of course, that's it, you're just too nice a guy [wired.com].

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Oh, bullshit. Women do want a man who is self-confident. Being self-confident is not the same as not being "nice". Grow a sack, learn how to communicate directly irl, learn how to not be doormat for women, and maybe you'll be taken seriously by one.

            • He's learning how to communicate. That's why he's on /. . A little bit more practice and he'll pass the Turing test.

      • by jockeys (753885)
        or is he just born with a heart full of neutrality?
      • What makes a man turn neutral? Lust for gold? Power?

        That would explain Jabba the Hutt.

    • by PatHMV (701344)
      I was always fond of "chaotic neutral" alignment, myself...
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Pojut (1027544)

        We had a buddy back in the day who made an attempt at a Lawful Evil character. It's much harder than you think.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by hoggoth (414195)

          I hate to go all Godwin on you, but isn't the best example of evil in the past 100 years a perfect example of 'lawful evil'?

          • by HBI (604924)

            The arbitrary nature of the ruler in question was far more in evidence than organizational skills or attention to any rule of law.

            Think Chaotic.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by hoggoth (414195)

              Chaotic is Conan running into a crowd of enemies whirling his sword. Chaotic is 'V for Vendetta' disrupting the machinery of the 'lawful evil' society around him. Chaotic is the Unibomber.

              The Nazi war machine was a well organized, disciplined army running on precise rules. The rule of law was despicable, but a rule of law nonetheless.

              • The Nazi war machine was a well organized, disciplined army running on precise rules.

                No, that describes the *German* war machine, that was built before the Nazis ever got there. The Nazis themselves weren't really any of those things.

                • by Sperbels (1008585)
                  A radical political party quickly takes over one of the mightiest industrialized nations in the world, rallies its citizens to world war and the dehumanization of a significant part of the population, and it was totally unorganized? Sorry, but I think your hate is blinding you so much that you've lost the ability to objectively see the situation.
          • by raddan (519638) *
            Actually, I think you could make the case that the Nazi party's rise to power (and Hitler's in particular) was illegal, or at least extralegal, given that most of the power shifts were the result of late-night coups and street shootings. On the other hand, the Enabling Act, which essentially dissolved Parliament, was passed through in a legal manner. I suspect that most leaders, either famous for their goodness or infamous for their evil, work outside of the law to make their agendas happen.
          • by Talla (95956)

            > I hate to go all Godwin on you, but isn't the best example of evil in the past 100 years a perfect example of 'lawful evil'?

            No, that's an example of a few lawful evil making the laws and a lot of lawful neutral following them.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by jbeach (852844)
              I don't think the Nazis were even lawful evil, since they were quite ready to violate their own laws if it suited them. But they weren't chaotic evil - that would be more like, say, Manson. "Neutral Evil" might better describe them...

              Perhaps the best description of Lawful evil might be Jim Jones, and various other leaders who perish with their cults. They are following their own laws, even to their own doom.

              Of course, where D&D steps out of touch with reality (besides, you know, with every single
          • by jbeach (852844)
            "Lawful Evil" really requires a very specific type of insanity, where the person is beholden to their own laws and can't just remake those laws arbitrarily. The only real-world analogue for this that I can think of is Mao. Hitler, Stalin and most of the other dictators from both the political left and political right had a very arbitrary and capricious outlook on the law - laws were for others and not for them. Which is not what someone who was truly of the outlook "Lawful" would operate...
            • by al3 (1285708)

              Kind of like Fight Club

              Police Officer: You said that if anyone ever interferes with Project Mayhem, even you, we gotta get his balls.

          • Not really. The "well-oiled machine" image of Nazism was mostly propaganda. In fact, it was mostly run on nepotism and personal favoritism. The parts of the German war machine that were well-organized and worked according to well-laid out policies with those parts that were there *before* the Nazis (like the General Staff).

        • We had a buddy back in the day

          ..implies it was a while ago. With so many role models for "lawful evil" being exposed in the real world in the last decade, I think it would be much easier now.

      • Han? Is that you? What do you mean you have a bad feeling about this?
      • by jbeach (852844)
        I kinda dig chaotic good. But that's pretty much a projection of my life outlook.
    • by rlp (11898)

      What if you are Neutral Neutral...would you just collapse in a heap of jello?

      Stop insulting us Druids, you insensitive clod! :-)

      • by besalope (1186101)

        What if you are Neutral Neutral...would you just collapse in a heap of jello?

        Stop insulting us Druids, you insensitive clod! :-)

        Shape-shift form Gelatinous Cube?

        • by Pojut (1027544)

          Shape-shift form Gelatinous Cube?

          The beauty part is, you can't get to the next level...so the kids just keep coughin' up quarters, you know? ::snort::

    • by jbeach (852844)
      Basically, in the real world equivalent: a neutral neutral is a gray boring life.
    • Smith was right!

      So, when do we start getting Lenses? Boskone isn't going to just wait around, you know!

  • What makes a man turn neutral ... Lust for gold? Power? Or were you just born with a heart full of neutrality?"
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by proc_tarry (704097)

      OLIVER: How hard was it to remind neutral during World War II?

      MAURER: Well, I think this is always a debate and I think we do make a clear distinction between our neutrality as an instrument of foreign policy and what we think as individuals and what the country thinks.

      OLIVER: But then, the neutrality issue seems complicated. Now obviously, Hitler did some very bad things, we know that. How do you focus on the positive things to balance that out?

      MAURER: It's not a question of positive. It's a question of ou

    • by mjwx (966435)

      What makes a man turn neutral ... Lust for gold? Power? Or were you just born with a heart full of neutrality?"

      I have no strong feelings on the issue.

  • by jeffmeden (135043) on Monday June 28, 2010 @12:08PM (#32717510) Homepage Journal

    Gray’s findings run counter to the notion that only those blessed with heightened willpower or self-control are capable of heroism, suggesting instead that simply attempting heroic deeds can confer personal power.

    See? You can will yourself to have heroic physical capabilities! Batman *isn't* bullshit! He may have bought his fame, and all his cool gadgets, but that doesn't stop him from willing himself into a superhero. Thank you, modern science, for seeing the light.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hedwards (940851)
      That's been established for a really long time. Winding up in texts from the Bhagavad Gita to The Art Of War. And frequently gets parodied in western pop culture. It's somewhat tied into the great strength of chimps. Chimps don't have really have any more muscle than a similarly sized person, but so much of our muscles are used to control precise movements that we lose out a lot on strength. Similarly by clearing the mind of doubt we can cease fighting with ourselves and become far more powerful and coordin
      • by Chris Burke (6130)

        Chimps don't have really have any more muscle than a similarly sized person, but so much of our muscles are used to control precise movements that we lose out a lot on strength.

        As I heard it, it's actually that we just don't activate as many muscle clusters simultaneously as chimps do. It's not about fine motor control when it comes to big muscles like the quadriceps or biceps, it's just that we're optimized for endurance over strength.

        And when we do activate all of our muscles at once, we tend to injure o

        • by magisterx (865326)
          You are on it exactly. Humans are optimized for endurance over strength. Chimps tend to have denser muscles with more long fibers and they also tend to have much denser bones. The 5-8X often quoted is an exaggeration, but in terms for short term force they are substantially stronger than us. There are some details for the laymen at: http://www.slate.com/id/2212232 [slate.com]
          • by Chris Burke (6130)

            Sounds like I wasn't exactly right, as the difference isn't just in how the muscles are coordinated, but in actual genetic differences in the tissue itself.

            Interesting.

      • by MiniMike (234881)

        I had heard it was because of the placement of their tendons, which gives them more leverage, not that they think they are superheroes/villains. Maybe it's a combination of factors.

  • by Kral_Blbec (1201285) on Monday June 28, 2010 @12:11PM (#32717540)
    science discovers adrenaline. Story at 5
  • Old as dirt. (Score:5, Informative)

    by cyphercell (843398) on Monday June 28, 2010 @12:13PM (#32717592) Homepage Journal

    "The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy."

      Sun Tzu

  • So I can my evil powers for good.....?

  • Oh, Great (Score:5, Funny)

    by StefanJ (88986) on Monday June 28, 2010 @12:23PM (#32717700) Homepage Journal

    Now the Olympics are going to look like a convention of superheroes and supervillains, with each athlete alignment-doping him or herself with more and more outrageous costumes, posturing, and pre-event monologues.

    "Sure, he hurled the discus five miles, but did he really have to soak it in the blood of five virgins and dedicate his performance to All-Mighty Set?"

  • Paladin (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Stargoat (658863) <stargoat@gmail.com> on Monday June 28, 2010 @12:26PM (#32717748) Journal

    If that's the case, then why is Paladin the worst 3.5e base class?

    • You just need to play those temporary buffs for all it's worth.
    • by Chris Burke (6130)

      All Paladins suffer from crippling self-doubt.

    • by Culture20 (968837)

      If that's the case, then why is Paladin the worst 3.5e base class?

      Because Paladin was never intended to be a base class. It should have been an epic class requiring 9 levels of Fighter and an oath of poverty (no landholdings). OD&D FTW!

  • does it for me every time.

  • "Writing stories about harming people" releases hormones, adrenaline that increases endurance. Helping people gives an endorphine reward that gives the person more capacity to endure pain. So if I easily fall into a state of seething rage, does that mean I have an easier time accessing this power boost? And what has that to do with "good and evil?"
  • But my Ninja, of course, is Neutral.

    They say a Scavvy is the best partner, and evil would, of course, be the way to go. All for naught however unless I can find a RoTP and get down there in a hurry. We'll see how it works out.

    Funny how it's always the Ninja that cleans up.

  • I am pure neutral neutral, do I have to roll an extra die to find out what happens?

  • by ctchristmas (1821682) on Monday June 28, 2010 @01:12PM (#32718470)
    So switching my lvl 7 dark elf warrior from chaotic neutral to evil gives a str bonus?
  • by Layth (1090489) on Monday June 28, 2010 @01:23PM (#32718760)

    IMHO they missed the mark on this one.
    It's not about good or evil, it's about catering to the ego's sense of importance.

    Speaking from personal experience, if I am going out of my way to commit a personal sacrifice in the name goodness, then my sense of importance becomes expanded for the duration of the act.
    For example, if you're running a marathon for a charity you believe in. Suddenly, you may find the wordly measurements of your physical endurance to be exhibiting increased levels.

    Are you a super human? No.
    You're just willing to grit your teeth and take a little more pain. Because it's *important* and what you're doing is *important* and the ego just eats it up.

  • As fast as you run, you would run faster if you knew a lion were chasing you or if you truly believed a lion were chasing you. Neither good nor evil is a lion, but they were created by mankind for similar effects.
  • I am...

    1: Good

    2: Evil

    3: Lawful Good

    4: Lawful Evil

    5: Chaotic Good

    6: Chaotic Evil

    7: There is no good or evil, only Carson Daly.

    8: A robot

  • Bwahahaha *cough*. Er, carry on.
  • They just "think" they're good, and that alone makes them this hugely profitable global company? Cool!!
  • ...the POWER of the dark side!
  • In soviet Russia, power EVILS you! (Also in all other nations, to date...)

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