Hexbyte Glen Cove ‘We conclude’ or ‘I believe?’ Study finds rationality declined decades ago

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Examples of trends in the use of words related to rationality (top panel) versus intuition (bottom panel). Credit: Marten Scheffer, Ingrid van de Leemput, Johan Bollen

Scientists from Wageningen University and Research (WUR) and Indiana University have discovered that the increasing irrelevance of factual truth in public discourse is part of a groundswell trend that started decades ago.

While the current “post-truth era” has taken many by surprise, the study shows that over the past forty years, public interest has undergone an accelerating shift from the collective to the individual, and from towards emotion.

From ratio to sentiment

Analyzing language from millions of books, the researchers found that words associated with reasoning, such as “determine” and “conclusion,” rose systematically beginning in 1850, while words related to human experience such as “feel” and “believe” declined. This pattern has reversed over the past 40 years, paralleled by a shift from a collectivistic to an individualistic focus as reflected by the ratio of singular to plural pronouns such as “I”/”we.”

“Interpreting this synchronous sea-change in book language remains challenging,” says co-author Johan Bollen of Indiana University. “However, as we show, the nature of this reversal occurs in fiction as well as non-fiction. Moreover, we observe the same pattern of change between sentiment and rationality flag words in New York Times articles, suggesting that it is not an artifact of the book corpora we analyzed.”

Causes

“Inferring the drivers of long-term patterns seen from 1850 until 1980 necessarily remains speculative,” says lead author Marten Scheffer of WUR. “One possibility when it comes to the trends from 1850 to 1980 is that the rapid developments in science and technology and their socio- drove a rise in status of the scientific approach, which gradually permeated culture, society, and its institutions ranging from the education to politics. As argued early on by Max Weber, this may have led to a process of ‘disenchantment’ as the role of spiritualism dwindled in modernized, bureaucratic, and secularized societies.”

What precisely caused the observed reversal of the long-term trend around 1980 remains perhaps even more difficult to pinpoint. However, according to the authors there could be a connection to tensions arising from changes in economic policies since the early 1980s, which may have been defended on rational arguments but the benefits of which were not equally distributed.

Social media

The authors did find that the shift from rationality to sentiment in book language accelerated around 2007 with the rise of , when across languages the frequency of fact-related words dropped while emotion-laden language surged, a trend paralleled by a shift from collectivistic to individualistic .

Co-author Ingrid van de Leemput from WUR notes, “Whatever the drivers, our results suggest that the post-truth phenomenon is linked to a historical seesaw in the balance between our two fundamental modes of thinking: Reasoning versus intuition. If true, it may well be impossible to reverse the sea change we signal. Instead, societies may need to find a new balance, explicitly recognizing the importance of intuition and emotion, while at the same time making best use of the much needed power of rationality and science to deal with topics in their full complexity.”



More information:
Marten Scheffer et al, The rise and fall of rationality in language, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2021). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2107848118

Citation:
‘We conclude’ or ‘I believe?’ Study finds rationality declined decades ago (2022, January 12)
retrieved 13 January 2022
from https://phys.org/news/2022-01-rationality-declined-decades.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Meth use, intimate partner violence weaken immune function in HIV-positive men

Hexbyte Glen Cove

HIV infected H9 t cell. Credit: NIAID

A study of HIV-positive black and Latino men who have sex with men finds the use of methamphetamine combined with intimate partner violence boosted the activity of genes that regulate the body’s inflammatory and antiviral functions. The combination may lead to exhaustion of the immune system in people living with HIV, increasing the risk for developing chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and other disorders.

Social genomics, which examines how affect genetic activity, has demonstrated that adverse social adversity such as discrimination and violence are linked to substance abuse and HIV. The researchers for this study sought to determine if methamphetamine use, unsuppressed viral load, and could predict increases in inflammation and type I interferon, activity known to drive exhaustion of immune cells such as CD4 and CD8, which leads to increased .

The researchers recruited 147 HIV-positive black and Latino men who have sex with men from the MSM and Substances Cohort at UCLA Linking Infections Noting Effects (mSTUDY). The mSTUDY examines data from both HIV-positive and HIV-negative Los Angeles County men who have sex with men, predominately of Latino and black/African-American background. These communities are disproportionately impacted by HIV and considered high priority by prevention research.

The findings demonstrate that at a molecular level, both social challenges and substance use play a role in immune function in people living with HIV. These factors need to be considered together when studying the stress-disease link, though further research is needed to examine this over an extended period of time.



More information:
Social Genomics of Methamphetamine Use, HIV Viral Load, and Social Adversity, Annals of Behavioral Medicine (2021). DOI: 10.1093/abm/kaab096

Citation:
Meth use, intimate partner violence weaken immune function in HIV-positive men (2021, December 4)
retrieved 4 December 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-12-meth-intimate-partner-violence-weaken.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
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