Insights of neuroscience can help us to better understand why we are so divided. There is a distinct difference between the problems that our brains were designed to solve and the distinctly modern problems we face today. Throughout thousands of generations the human brain helped people on one side to collaborate within groups to secure advancement, while on the other side protected them from ‘other’ groups to secure survival. Professor Joshua Greene points out: “Biologically speaking humans were designed for cooperation, but only with some people. Our brains are wired for tribalism.
We intuitively divide the world into Us and Them and favor Us over Them.” (J. Greene, p. 55) Mental processes of the human mind such as implicit bias and motivated reasoning further solidified the experience of the world through the lens of Us against Them, a capacity that secured human survival in the past, but now threatens human survival in the present. Yet, there is good news too: we are wired, but not hardwired, to think through the dividing lens of Us and Them. Brains can be rewired through intentional contrasting experiences and active learning. (Source: Joshua Greene, Modern Tribes, 2013)
Definition Motivated Reasoning: when people form false beliefs despite overwhelming evidence
Definition Implicit Bias: the unconscious attribution of particular qualities (positive or negative) to a member of a certain social group.
There is a distinct difference between the problems that our brains were designed to solve and the modern problems we face today.