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Feb. 1, 2023

#69 Chris Ferguson - Violence in Video Games, The Myth of Sex, What to look for in a Partner

Chatting with Candice
 Chris J. Ferguson
 Episode Run Time: 1:34:09

Chris J. Ferguson is a psychologist and professor at Stetson University. In this episode, we debunk myths surrounding violence in video games and how this affects children, pornography and sex among Gen Zs, and what people should really look for in a partner.

00:00:00 00:01:07 Introducing Chris
 00:03:21 Forensic Psychology and Incarcerated Criminals
 00:10:01 Violence in Video Games and Movies
 00:27:57 The Politics of Violence in Media
 00:33:19 Safe Sex Discussion
 00:38:37 The Myth of Sex and Pornography
 00:46:23 Gun Control and Red & Blue
 00:53:35 Mental Health Intervention
 01:08:22 The “All Men Are Assholes” Effect and Mental Health in Dating 
 01:13:31 Love Stories and Life Stories
 01:18:05 What Chris is Up To
 01:22:17 How to Know if Data is Legitimate
 01:33:00 Where to Find Chris

Violence in Video Games and in Real Life

Violence and aggression in children all boils down to one thing: genetics. TV shows and video games are too far removed and have less emotional connection to affect children and their behavior. Video games are just simply for fun and don’t have good “transfer of learning”, where what you learn in video games is transferred into real life. 

Are People Having Less Sex?

Before, the problem was that teenagers were having too much sex. Now, they’re having too little sex, porn, and masturbation, and are miseducated and misinformed because of social media platforms like TikTok on the meaning and importance of sex in a relationship. To some, sex is dangerous and not fun and they’re waiting to do less sex and to do it later.

Mental Health For Men

The conversation around mental health seems to be more targeted towards women and not so much towards men. Violence can be attributed to genetics, but it could also be due to lack of access and encouragement for men to seek professional help. The reality is that the US doesn’t have any effective intervention system for mental health for the population and any type of long-term care could benefit everyone in the long run. 

Links and Resources:

Check out Chris’ official website and buy his books from Amazon here.


Chris J. Ferguson debunks myths on violence, pornography, sex, and finding the love of your life.

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0 (0s): I think the thing too with like Gen Z and I, you know, I kind of hate categorizing people by generations, but within, you know, more recent groups of youth at any rate is, I mean first off they are, they are having less sex. You know, they, they're or they're waiting to have sex later and they're having sex less frequently, which is sort of interesting. It's also interesting to see how like you can't win. Cuz I remember 10 years ago people were complaining that teens were having too much sex. Now they're complaining teens are having too little sex. I mean you can't, you can't win and people are just gonna complain. 2 (32s): Welcome back to Chatting with Candace. I am back, we had a baby. I'm feeling a little bit refreshed, a little bit tired. I do have mom brain so we're just gonna lead with that. If the conversation on my end is a little bit clunky, I do apologize. This is the first time I'm talking to an adult at length in months that is not my husband, but please help me welcome Chris Ferguson. He has his PhD in Psychology, he has been studying violent video games, the effects of media on us and we get into some really cool topics. So please enjoy the conversation and listen in. Thank you so much Chris for coming on the podcast. I was super excited when we kind of like virtually were introduced. 2 (1m 15s): I started a thread and I mean we'll jump like into that I'm sure in a little bit, but it was basically on like the effects of media and then a mutual friend tagged you in. I was like, oh my gosh, I've been wanting to talk about this because if I misinformed so many other people are probably misinformed when it comes to like the effects of media science research, how a lay person reads all of this. There's just like so many questions that I have for you. 0 (1m 39s): Awesome. Well yeah, thanks for having me on today. I'm really excited to talk about this. 2 (1m 43s): Do you want to give the listeners like a quick background as like your credentials as far as your credentials go? 0 (1m 49s): Yeah, sure. I, I can certainly try. So I'm, I'm a clinical psychologist and I'm a Psychology professor at Stetson University, which is in right outside of Orlando. Kind of the area that just went underwater in the recent hurricane. So it's right about there. I've had my PhD since 2004 and I initially was doing research more with like violent crime and it was kind of as a accidental backdoor from being interested in like mass homicide essentially. That kind of got me interested into the video game stuff cuz there was a lot of talk. This was like, yeah, early two thousands there's a lot of talk about Columbine High and, and all that and how that related to video games. 0 (2m 34s): So that sort of got me interested in this topic and it turns out it's a lot more, it's a lot easier to do research on video games than it is on mass homicide perpetrators. So it ended up being, I guess, you know, lucrative probably isn't quite the right word for it, but certainly very productive as a research field. It's a lot of fun, you know, so that's basically it. I mean I've, I've testified in DC a few times I got to meet then Vice President Joe Biden. I don't think he'd remember me probably for, for more reasons than one, but, you know, so, and I actually was called by the Trump administration too for their school safety commission back in 2018 after the Parkland shooting here in Florida. 0 (3m 14s): So I've, I've, I've, I've given testimony on a few times in DC but you know, it's, it's a living keeps me off the streets. 2 (3m 22s): When you were working with, I guess you were working with Criminals, right? Like that was part of your Forensic Psychology. Can you tell me a little bit about that? Because, so I, I went to university for Psychology and I was convinced that's what I was gonna do was like I want to interview serial killers like the f b does. I just found it so fascinating and my teachers at the time were really concerned and they're like, I don't know if you should be researching these subjects or if you should be diving deep cuz you might be losing sleep. And for some reason it never really scared me. It just was so fascinating that you get into the conversation of consciousness and yeah, souls and empathy and whether all of these things exist in all people. 2 (4m 2s): So what was that like for you? Did you lose sleep? Did you just find it fascinating? Like how did you get through that? 0 (4m 8s): I think about one third of our students probably get involved in Psychology for exactly the same reason as you did. So you're, you're in good company. So they're definitely, it's a, it's not a unusual motivation for people to go into Psychology and it, and it really of course was a large part of my motivation as well. Cause I always found those things interesting. No, I'm, I'm actually pretty difficult to disturb I think, you know, so I'm trying to think of the right word saying it, but, but like, like we watch horror movies like my wife and I, you know, my wife is is always a lot more like, you know, I can't stand what's happening to those people and I'm like, I dunno, I think it's kinda fun to watch this. I dunno. So I guess that's kinda the difference a little bit. So anyway, I, I talk about serial killers and mass homicide perpetrators doesn't really bother me and never really did, I'd never lost sleep over it. 0 (4m 54s): I mean obviously be very different to see something like that happen in person, but you know, in, in the abstract at least it doesn't really bothersome sort of thing for me. But, but, but I really didn't, you know, but most of my stuff was, I worked with juvenile sex offenders for a little while. I've worked with juveniles in general in juvenile detention facilities. I did screening for inmates in a, in a jail for a while. And then really my, my latest or my last clinical gig, I don't do a lot of clinical work anymore, but my last clinical gig was working with Child protective services. So that was a lot of parents who had lost custody of their children and wanted to, you know, a lot, probably the majority of 'em were mothers and they wanted to, you know, regain custody of their children. 0 (5m 34s): So as part of that they had to go through a psychological evaluation in order to, you know, determine the risk of them re-offending or not protecting A lot of it was not protecting their kids from being offended against. So that was kinda the stuff that I, I, I wish I could say like, you know, I was hunting serial killers, you know, or, or something like that, that really wasn't, I did occasionally get to talk to a serial killer, but relatively rare. That was still just as a kind of routine part of they were already Incarcerated and you know, just ma trying to figure out if they needed to be in the mental health unit or something of that sort as opposed to general population. It wasn't like criminal minds. I wasn't in a, like a private plane jetting all over the place trying To some unknown suspect or whatever. 0 (6m 17s): But it was still fun. I, I like doing clinically, I like doing assessments, I don't like doing therapy very much. So it's a lot of fun to, you know, have these questions about what makes people work and go through the process of collecting evidence through a psychological assessment and you know, trying to answer whatever question people have, whether that's a diagnosis question or is it at risk question or whatever else may be happening. So if you're thinking of, you know, for any listeners who may be thinking of Psychology or think they hate therapy, you can do assessments that's a lot more fun. It feels a little bit more like the scientific side of, of clinical work. So yeah. 2 (6m 51s): So when you're coming up with the assessments, do you find a commonality in the people that have been Incarcerated for violent crimes or a commonality in whether it's like the mom or the parents that are losing custody because like they're not taking care of the kid. Like is there like, you know, the dark triad, is that, does that show up in both or is there a commonality in like lack of empathy or maybe a predisposition to violence that you see? Yeah, 0 (7m 17s): Well it kind of depends on what type of crime you're talking about. You know, in terms of like, you kinda think of like mass homicide, which I spend a lot of time studying here for instance. You do see a really common pattern of those individuals tend to have a long history of mental health problems. They tend to be antisocial. Yeah, it's probably not a surprise. And they tend to be what we call injustice collectors, which means they just ruminate over all the wrong things other people have done to them and they just can't let it go. So, you know, so, and that's what, you know, eventually results in the mass homicides. They just, they just want to punish everyone that they think is responsible for how bad their life has turned out. You know? So, you know, you kinda like think of that extreme, you see a relatively, you know, clear for lack of a better word, profile of what those individuals look if you look like, you know, if you're thinking about like on the other hand like shoplifting, you know, you know, probably a majority of teenagers shoplift at some point, you know, so trying to distinguish between them is a little bit trickier. 0 (8m 14s): But yeah, I mean, you know, so with sort of like an assault, you know, you, you get a relatively wide range of, you know, so you can't say that everybody that's committed an assault fits necessarily into a nice package. But you tend to see that, you know, people that come from, you know, more difficult backgrounds tend to be more likely to commit assaults. You know, again, I know people here a lot to the contrary, but it actually is true that people with certain types of mental illnesses are more likely to commit assaults than other individuals, people who are stressed financially or otherwise, you know, so you do kind of see these sort of things that make, you know, violent crimes more likely. 0 (8m 54s): But of course not everybody who's in in those categories commits violent crimes, not, you know, not everybody's poor commits an assault or has schizophrenia commits an assault and not everybody who commits an assault comes from those categories. So it's a little bit trickier. The more general or more mild the, the criminal behavior happens to be. You see less of a profile the further down the scale you go, probably all of us commit some kind of crime, you know, at some point, you know, and I'm gonna have my students speculating about what types of crime I've committed. At some point, apparently there were faculty members at one pointing the rumor that I've been arrested at some point in my life. I actually have not been for the record ever been arrested. But, but you know, probably most of us have like downloaded MP3s or shoplifted or done something relatively small that was still bad, you know, at some point in our lives cause we're, we're human. 0 (9m 45s): So 2 (9m 46s): No, totally. So everyone at least has ripped like a, like you said, an MP3 or a movie back in the day that was, everyone was guilty of that and that's, that's horrible. Don't do that. But yeah, whether the scale is something victimless like that or something, something much larger, I think, so I like a lot of people have, I guess the false narrative that like video games in particular or violent modeling through like movies maybe even play can create a more violent child and then they're more likely to, to be a perpetrator of something like this. 2 (10m 28s): And then one of the, one of the experiments that they used to show us back in school, like eons ago was the Bobo dolls, right? So, well this is proof that, you know, something like a video game could, could make someone more violent is you, you give these kids something to watch, they see someone like whacking someone with a hammer and then they're acting violent towards this bobo doll. So I guess where, how have we gone from that where it was widely accepted that modeling does create violent behavior to No it does not. 0 (10m 58s): Yeah. Yeah. That's that's a great question. Yeah. And, and the boba dolls happened. Yeah, those experiments happened like back in like 1962. So they, you know, practically brought these like cave children in to, you know, to watch these videos. But yeah, they would've, these kids like watch videos and half they'd be randomized and half of them would watch a video in which an adult went into this playroom and played peacefully with the toys that were in the playroom and the other half watched this adult grab a mallet and swat a bobo doll. Right. You know? And so of course the kids who watch the video, then the kids are all brought into that room and they get to play with whatever plays they toys they want to. And of course the kids that watched the video of the adult swatting the bobo doll with the male are more likely to do that than themselves. 0 (11m 44s): And yeah, you're obviously right sort of has been interpreted, you know, as sort of evidence that kids will model and learn aggression by watching, you know, some, some sort sort of adult engaging in, you know, similar behavior. I mean some of the things that kind of are getting pointed out though about those experiments are first off Bobo dolls are meant to be hit. I mean it's like they're like, they have no other purpose other than to be hit and that's different from like a kitten, right? You know, so I always kind of say, you know, this show you how morbid I, I say like the experiment that would convince me it was completely illegal and un unethical of course would be to show children a video of an adult smashing a kitten with a hammer, right? And then bring the kids into the room and see if they do something that is not socially sanctioned. 0 (12m 29s): My best guess, obviously I don't actually think anybody should do this experiment cause it's horrible. I actually love kittens, but for the record it's not like a fan I'm having, but, but that would be more on target with what we actually want to know because you're actually talking about a non socially sanctioned behavior as opposed to one that perfectly a sanctioned, anybody can hit a bobba, nobody cares. Right. You know, and the other thing's kind pointed out is that these studies, the bob blood studies are probably not really aggression studies at all. They're probably compliance studies that these kids were given no other instructions, you know, they were like three or four, you know, and they were brought into this room and showed a video of an adult doing a thing and then brought into a room that had the things they could do the same thing with and lacking any other instructions. 0 (13m 15s): And having the strange adult in a lab coat, you know, sort of guiding them around probably guessed that the video was the instructions for what they were supposed to be doing. So it's probably more like a compliance study that these kids were trying to make the adults happy, not engaging in aggression and you know, the types of aggression we are worried about tend to be more antisocial aggression where you're not trying to make somebody happy. Yeah. So there really been these questions that have emerged about whether the bobo dial studies really ever taught us anything about aggression at all as opposed to like just kids will try to figure out what you want 'em to do, you know, which we already knew, you know, for the most part at that age, you know, be different if was teenagers, right? Teenagers don't wanna do what they think you want them to do. 0 (13m 56s): But it's a, it's a very different story. But yeah, so it turns out in reality like, you know, aggression, you know, it's not that you don't ever learn it, but a large part of it actually is genetic. You know, something about 50 to 55% of the variance and antisocial behavior in particular is, is genetic. And it, it is important to sort of also point out that not all aggressive behavior is antisocial. You know, that there's certain things like debating people or defending yourself or engaging in sports aggression and that kind of stuff we actually allow people to do and actually praise them for doing it. So, but in terms of like antisocial aggression, about 50 to 55% of that variance is, is genetic. 0 (14m 38s): Most of what remains is really more emotional than it is learned. In other words, the more stressed a person is, the more likely they are to engage in aggression. There certainly are some aspects of things like if you come from a bad background where you see your, your parents engage in a lot of aggression either towards each other or towards you as the child, you may be more likely to engage in, in aggressive behavior. But these things like television and video games are just too far removed, you know, from all that stuff. There's just no real emotional connection for the most part between people and these forms of media. So it's just like, we call it too distal, it's just, it's just too remote for it turns out people are bad at learning in general, you know, so this like, it's just not that great a learning opportunity for the most part. 0 (15m 24s): And the way sometimes it helps people think about, it's a sense of like if you were getting on a jet plane, a passenger airliner and the pilot came over the intercom and said, this is my first time ever flying an actual plane, but I've been playing Microsoft Flight simulator for 10,000 hours and I'm pretty sure I've got this down. Everything looks pretty much the same. Most of us would be stampeding to get off that plane, you know, because we understand that, you know, learning in the environment of a video game is very different from engaging in the behavior in, in real life. And we would have no confidence. 0 (16m 4s): So this person is actually learning to fly a plane simply by jumping from a flight simulator into an actual cockpit without anybody giving them further instruction in real life before, you know, doing so. So, and that's where we've seen this, we call it transfer of learning, that for the most part, people don't engage in transfer of learning. So they don't learn things in one context and apply them to another one. In some ways that's bad. It would be very efficient if we did, but in other cases, like this is good, right? Because we don't want people to take what they learn in a video game and place it to to real life. And it turns out for the most part they don't, that's true. Whether we're talking about bad things like aggression or violence, unfortunately, it's also true if we're talking about good things like learning pro-social behavior or moral values or things like that, people don't learn that either. 0 (16m 50s): So video games are just fun. They, they don't really teach us much for the most part. 2 (16m 55s): So there's no like, so I guess what, what triggers, I guess that empathetic response, do you know, like is there a difference between when they see a character on the screen? Like let's say they're playing resident evil and they're shooting down zombies. Yeah. What, how does the, the brain, especially of like a younger child or maybe like a, you know, prepubescent teenage like 12, 13 year old, how do they distinguish the difference between the screen and real life? 0 (17m 24s): Yeah, that's a good question. And you know, and of course in fairness, like young children aren't really empathic creatures at all. You know, empathy is something that develops kind of across the lifespan until at least the teenage years. You know, so you can just watch how children on the playground behave with each other and they're horrible. They're like geese, you know, there's mean spiteful and aggressive, you know, with each other. That's kind of a normal way that they, they behave. But there does seem to be something in terms of, you know, our brains make some distinction about whether we think what we're watching is real or is not real. And we assign value to that. And it seems to be a part of our brain called the amygdala that there, there actually have been these like FM r i scans, which are sometimes kind of sketchy, but you know, you know this, these are kind of interesting in, in the sense that they, they look at like people viewing real scenarios versus fictional scenarios and see that this particular part of the brain, which is involved in assigning emotional meaning to memories, lights up more basically when the event is real as opposed to when the event is fictional. 0 (18m 28s): So it's, again, it suggests that we're giving different emotional weight to real versus fictional, you know, things. And, and we actually showed that in one experiment we did not with an FM or I machine, but we had people watch, these were young adults and we had them watch either violent or non-violent television shows. And then after that we had them watch either clips of real people dying or getting injured or closely matched clips of fictional like movies or television shows where people were dying or getting injured. And they knew it, they knew they were watching either real people or you know, the, the t the TV shows. Oh wow. And, and then they were asked about their empathy towards those people. They were watch, they were watching get injured or killed or whatever. 0 (19m 10s): And, and first off, it didn't matter if they'd watched a violent television show or not beforehand, that didn't cause any differences in empathy. But what did, cause you know, probably not a surprise differences in empathy is that people were much more empathic towards the real victims of violence than they were the fictional characters. You know, they really just didn't care for the most part about the fictional characters. They really were upset though by watching real people die or, or get injured. So I think that's pretty fano, pretty fanta you know, pretty interesting really. Yeah. Pretty fantastic that we seem to have this sense of being able to apply meaning to things about whether we think it's real or fictional or not. I don't think it's really well understood exactly how we do that necessarily. 0 (19m 53s): And I think it's unfortunate because until very recently there really was this em, this sort of sense that we didn't do that. You know, because, you know, we would watch a television show and watch people get killed over and over and over again and then reduce empathy, you know, we would lose our empathy for real LifeViolence. It turns out that doesn't happen. And so we don't know why exactly it doesn't happen, but we can show that in fact, it, it doesn't happen that we maintain our empathy, you know, towards real life events no matter what we watch in the, in the fictional world. And again, you kinda, you know, take the average person who likes to watch a lot of thrillers or horror movies or whatever else, you know, I, I, I love these kinds of movies and I've, you know, as many people have, I've watched countless people have their heads blown off or eaten by monsters or, or whatever else. 0 (20m 41s): And you know, you get a little thrilled, it's kind of exciting and fun. But I mean, to have someone walk into the room with me, me, and shoot another person in the head would be horr, I mean, incredibly traumatic. Even if I wasn't in any way in any danger, it'd be a really, really very different experience, you know? And so again, I don't think this sense of like, well I've seen it in a bunch of movies, therefore blah, it's not that big a deal is really how people respond, you know, to to these things. It's too mechanical and we're just not that mechanistic. 2 (21m 9s): Wasn't that a a, a story was that the military used video games like violent video games or violent simulation to desensitize soldiers? 0 (21m 19s): It yeah, it was exactly what you said. It was a story, it was a Myth it was, it was not a thing that actually happened. Yeah, yeah. So the, the, the army or the military in general do use simulators. You know, they do use video game like simulators to train things like, you know, v you know, how to use vehicles, how to do team, you know, team performance sorts of things. The police use shooting simulators to try to teach police officers when to shoot, when not to shoot, things like that. So as people do use these kinda like video game-like simulators, but no, they don't use them to desensitize people to kill more. I mean obviously the police don't want to, you know, have their officers shoot everybody. 0 (22m 2s): You know, the whole point of this thing is to try to help them not engage in wrongful shootings. Same thing with the military. And I actually did at one point interview a, I think it was an Air Force psychologist about sort of this, and I think he kinda laughed when he heard about this story in, in a sense of like, why would you think the, the US Army wants to send their soldiers shooting everybody? Because imagine what would happen. They just start opening fire on everybody, you know, in the streets with no discernment whatsoever if this was really what was happening. And why would you think that any professional military would want their soldiers doing that? You know, it's a recipe for, you know, we kinda look at the Ukraine war, it's kinda what the Russians are doing. 0 (22m 44s): I know To some extent they look bad, it looks bad when your soldiers do this sorts of things. So it absolutely is not what you want a professional military to do to just, you know, open fire on everybody without any sense of remorse whatsoever. You want to train them cognitively about what to do in dangerous situations that maximizes their own survival, you know, moves the mission forward, but without, you know, engaging in civilian casualties or or hurting people that are not threats. Cause that ends up causing more problems for the military than it does anything good. 2 (23m 17s): So do you think that any kind of content can, I guess, influence the ethical behavior or like the ethical way that you handle firearms? So it's interesting because growing up I feel like the conversation used to be that it was video games and rap music that caused school shootings. And now the conversation is, well it's Hollywood movies too. I saw that a lot during the most recent shooting that was in Texas. And everyone was saying, well Hollywood has no right to say anything because they practice unsafe gun protocol all the time in all their movies. And what I've noticed is in a couple of movies they've actually changed a little bit. 2 (23m 58s): Like it seems like they're trying to behave like they have real weapons now. So the one show is called, I think it was called The Gray Man. Did you watch that? 0 (24m 7s): I have not seen 2 (24m 8s): It, no. So like he's like throwing these these weapons to people and then like the joke of it all was that they weren't loaded and he's like, why, why would you throw me this weapon? Like there's no bullets. And he's like, everyone knows you don't throw a loaded gun. Like little like drops there of like, well this is how you properly handle a firearm. Does that make any difference or is it kind of in the same field as video games? 0 (24m 30s): Yeah, I mean obviously not throwing a loaded gun sounds like a good idea to me. I would say that. But no, it's probably not gonna have much impact unfortunately. And, and the reason I say that it terms of, even in terms of things like gun safety, it's really not gonna influence probably first off. Cause I don't think a lot of people really throw around live firearms. I mean, I know it's a big world and probably there are some idiots out there somewhere that do stuff like this, but I, I imagine the average gun owner isn't like juggling their AR fifteens or something of that sort with the safety off, you know? So, but there, there have been experiments that, you know, again with this idea that people are really bad learners. So they, they do these experiments sometimes with kids with gun safety and again, like kindergarten, first grade second, like young kids, you know, and they'll teach them the basics of gun safety, which is like, you know, if you see a firearm, don't touch it, go tell an adult, you know, that kind of stuff. 0 (25m 25s): Pretty simple messages for the most part. And what you find is that you can, you can teach peop you can teach kids to repeat this stuff, right? You know, so you, you take a bunch of these kids, you have a little class of maybe 10 or 12 kids and you say, what do you do if you find a, a, a firearm? You know, they tell an adult, they all say the right thing and then you leave them in the room by themselves and you go behind a two-way mirror and somewhere in this room you've hidden a real firearm. Of course it doesn't, you know, and, and there are bullets too, but of course all the gun powders taken off of the bullets so the kids can't really hurt themselves, but they don't know that it's not a toy. It's a real, like they, they have like a 38, you know, and the bullets hidden somewhere. And of course the kids find the 38 and they find the bullets, they get all these beautiful videos of these kids, like with the 38 in their hand squeezing the trigger. 0 (26m 8s): Oh, you know, wow. They find the bullets and cause they're all like six, they don't know how to load a pistol, but they're all trying to like jam the bullets down the barrel and this kind of stuff to try to load them. So you can teach kids the words, but they don't do the behavior very effectively, you know, so that's, and I'm not saying we shouldn't teach kids gun safety, it just points out that you are working against some aspects of human nature that are very irrational. I think To some extent, you know, so, you know, I, I think it's helpful to, to teach those messages, don't get me wrong. But yeah, people are just kind of bad at learning stuff. So I, I, yeah, I don't think for the most part that like the messages in movies are gonna have much impact on like people's real behavior, even moral messages for the most part don't tend to have a lot of impact. 0 (26m 60s): And sort of like with safe sex, I mean you can have your characters talk about, oh you know, we're, we're gonna go to bed but make sure we have a condom or whatever, you know, and I don't think that's really like at the core of teaching teens safe sex or, or anything of that sort, you know? So I think you really have to do that in families and maybe schools you might have a bit more impact there, but still you're working against biology To some extent. So some of these teens are still gonna have unsafe sex and that's just kinda how it goes. But yeah. Yeah, I, I, I think, you know, trying to, let's think about like moral messages too. If they come across too obvious, they'll kind of backfire in a way cuz people really don't like to be preached to in their fictional media. 0 (27m 42s): And sometimes you can try to subtly put a few things in there, but if they pick up on it, what I think is what's happening in a lot of shows right now is people are kind of complaining about like, this show is really trying to preach. To me they may not be putting it quite as, you know, neutrally as that, but I think that's 2 (27m 58s): The worst. You have a show that you're invested in and it's been great and then all of a sudden it gets political and you're like, this was my form of escape and entertainment and now you're trying to push your Yeah. Ideologies onto me when I really loved the show and I loved the characters. Yeah, I saw that happening a lot too. And then what I have noticed is they all got rid of it really quick because yeah, all of my friends, we were watching, this Is Us and it is one of the most beautiful shows I think on tv, but it got crazy political for like a few episodes and then quickly Yeah, quickly turned around, everyone stopped watching it. Like, you can't do this. This is not what it's we signed up for. 0 (28m 34s): Yeah. And that could be true, even if you, I mean I remember like Long svu, it was one of my favorite shows for a long time and I actually stopped watching it maybe, maybe two or three years ago for exactly the same reason that you're talking about all of a sudden it was, I actually agreed morally with where they're coming from cuz they were, yeah, I'll be very up upfront with you. And I don't know, like, you know, I, I'm not trying to get into pol politics with you, but I, I guess Dick Wolf was very anti-Trump, you know, so a lot of the episodes really became the sort of like anti-Trump message and, and I didn't vote for Trump, you know, at either time. I don't, don't care for him in any way, but still I was like, man, I'm just trying to relax, you know, I just wanna watch a good mystery or good police procedural here. 0 (29m 21s): I don't want to, even though I mostly agree with the moral message, it just feels way too earnest, you know, way too in my face. And it sometimes it's okay to like, want to be able to turn to media and not think about politics. Right. You know, either side for a while we, we we need more opportunities to take a break. Yeah. From all the stupid fighting in politics and it, yeah. And I don't know if, if Law and Order SVU is still doing that, like I said, I, there was maybe like 3, 4, 5 episodes that were all pretty closely packed together and I was like, oh forget it. I don't, I watch this on cnn, I wanted this. 2 (30m 0s): Yeah, I agree. I think when you're faced with the same problems and there's no escape from it, I think it just helps just pit everyone against one another. It's like kind of like what you see with the war and the sexes is, seems to be being given a new life. So it's like this idea of men versus women and I forget who says that, I think it might have been the author of that older book, women Are from, men Are from Mars, women are from Venus. Like if, if you're trying to like prop up one sex, they both lose, like this isn't, yeah, we're not supposed to be at each other's throats like we're supposed to be teammates. And I think it's the same with like red and blue, I think you're there as checks and balances. I don't think there's inherently a good and a bad team. 2 (30m 42s): I think it's like if Red is getting a little bit crazy blue's there to check them, if blue gets a little bit too crazy, red's there to check them. Like we have to have this balance between conservatives and conservative values and progressive values, right? Because you wanna progress, you wanna, you know, constantly be innovating but not to the point where you start getting crazy and then you also wanna conserve some things but not to the point where it's affecting your growth. So I think when we are looking at it as like them versus us, it's like everybody loses. 0 (31m 10s): Yeah, it's, it's just, it's good. It's good newspaper headlines though. I think it's what it's, you know, so there're obviously certain groups of people that do benefit from that messaging. Obviously the politicians themselves can benefit To some degree and, but also, you know, news media loved this stuff. I mean probably, you know, talking about Trump again, and I don't mean to go down that rabbit hole too far, but you know, probably, no, nobody has been better for news media in recent memory than Donald Trump as much as they ostensibly hated him other than Fox News, of course he was good business for cnn, you know, like they gave him so much free publicity, you know, by complaining about him all the time and he was just smart enough to turn that to his advantage. 0 (31m 56s): The, you know, get a lot of voters behind him. But yeah, I mean, you know, and then, and social media of course, you know, the, these platforms tend to do well by increasing polarization and you know, tapping people's hot buttons and this sort of stuff. So I, I think, you know, there are certain groups of elites I guess, and I use that term with some hesitation, but that benefit from dividing everybody else, whether it's on race, whether it's on gender, whether it's on, you know, religion, national identity, whatever, all these different identity politics types of issues, you know, you know, I, I think I've seen this argument made, I think it's convincing that the, the best way of keeping the lower classes, the working classes from having any actual powers to put them against each other, you know, black versus white versus Latino, you know, male versus female, so on and so forth. 0 (32m 48s): So they're all arguing with each other rather than figuring out that they're all kind of getting screwed. The Yeah, yeah, 2 (32m 58s): No, I totally agree. There's this joke about it and it's, you have, there's like these two puppets and one side is like, well I, I like the puppet on the right hand side. And the other one's like, well I like the puppet on the left hand side. And then come to find out it's the same hand holding both of 'em and it's like, yeah, you're exactly the same you dummies like focus. Yeah, focus somewhere else. You did say something interesting. So when you were getting to like the Safe, Sex Discussion, I'm not sure if this is like in your wheelhouse or not, but when it comes to identifying the differences between simulated and like real occurrences like we were talking about with like the violence, is that the same when it comes to sex? 2 (33m 38s): So like because pornography is real, like it's actually happening is yeah, that also can, that have an influence, like a negative influence on how people perceive you're supposed to behave? So like, kind of like the violence argument, but just more yeah, sexual ethics because it's not simulated versus like a really hot sex scene in a movie where it's not real but it's really close to real but it's not real. 0 (34m 3s): Yeah, that's a good question. And I think there really are kinda like two different levels in which to try to answer that and the answer might be slightly different based on them. So obviously the one thing people worry about probably more than anything else is just the sort of idea, does it, does it lead to rape or sexual assault or other kinds of sexual violence? And I think there we can pretty clearly say that at least for most like mainstream porn. So if you're showing like a heterosexual couple having sex and it's consenting or homosexual couple having sex and it's consenting that that is not just, just watching people having sex doesn't increase the, the likelihood of like rape or or sexual assault or yeah, there's a lot of theories about the sort of idea of commodifying women and this kind of stuff and objectifying and you know, on a moral level maybe we could say there are elements of porn that are objectionable. 0 (34m 45s): But in terms of practical impacts, you know, watching the va, vast majority of pornography does not seem to be associated with increased rates of, of rape or sexual assault. If anything. Somewhat the inverse, if this is correlational data, so I'm not making a cause of attribution here, but as society's genuinely liberalized in terms of allowing more pornography, things like rape and sexual assault rates tend to go down in those same societies. Now that's probably just because of a general liberalizing trend, not anything that porn is doing. But on the other hand, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. You know, so I would, you know, don't mess with the system that's moving in the, in the right direction. If you look at like violent porn now there's a lot of like, so the way people define violent porn in academia is different also from how like the average, like normal person thinks of violent porn. 0 (35m 31s): So things like if you're showing a scene where like a man is forcing himself onto a woman, now they, they might be actors, you know, as it may be all simulated, but she appears to be not enjoying it. She's saying no, you know, this kind stuff that's actually really rare. It still, obviously it exists, there's a niche market for it. Most men who enjoy porn don't want that. You know, so with that you find some small correlations between viewing that type of stuff. And so if you look at like rapists or sexual assault perpetrators who are convicted, they tend to have, they tend to report at least a history of consuming more of that type of material. 0 (36m 11s): Now it's not really clear though, does that mean that the porn made them that way or were they already psychopaths who are interested in violent sex and therefore they're attracted to pornography that portrays that sort of thing? That's, and that's what we don't really know very clearly at this point. But in terms of like the 95% of porn that like most people consume naked images of adults, adults having consenting sex where both people seem to be enjoying it, that's not associated with anything in terms of rape or sexual assault. The other thing people, the other level people sometimes ask, well what about does it make some activities more normal seeming, you know? Yeah. In other words, did porn result in like people having more oral sex, you know, or people perhaps having more anal sex or things like that or more, you know, s and m or bondage or you know, and it's hard to know, you know, did it sort of, it probably had the effect of allowing people to talk about it more, you know, so thinking like oral sex, oral sex was not invented in the 1970s, you know, you know, so, but people probably didn't talk a lot about it up until relatively recently and even in things like anonymous surveys, people might have been, cuz people do lie in anonymous surveys. 0 (37m 27s): People might have been shyer about talking about those things than they are, you know, today I could, I could say like with my, even with my undergraduates, I could tell they're much franker in talking about sex than I would've been as an undergraduate even 30 years ago. So there definitely are these generational changes in how upfront people are in terms of talking about like masturbation, oral sex and other kinds of activities. A again, I don't know that it's necessarily the case that, you know, again, I don't think most sex acts have been invented by porn, you know, so, but you know, is, is there kind of an increase in some of these activities resulting from the more widespread availability of porn? I, I don't think we know for sure. 0 (38m 7s): You know, is is the reality of it, I don't think it's the main driving force, but maybe has a minor impact a little bit again in terms of like normalizing these things of making it seem like they're not as big a deal as maybe 50, 60 years ago people would've thought of them. There are other myths around porn too. Like yeah, like porn doesn't cause men to have erectile dysfunction. That's another one I hear. Say 2 (38m 27s): It again for the people in the back 0 (38m 29s): Porn does not cause men to have erectile dysfunction 3 (38m 32s): Evidence. I hope 2 (38m 35s): That audio clip goes viral. I've had Dr. Nicole Prosci on and Dr. Leon and just Dr. So on all of these people that know what they're talking about. And there are plenty of studies that have debunked that Myth and for some reason it's like these Gen Z men that are like sw swearing oaths of abstinence, like not even like no porn, but they're not masturbating, they're not having sex with men or with women because they have this idea that it's perpetuating ed and lowering their testosterone, which is quite the opposite. It's like if you ke if you aren't having those releases, you are gonna continue to have ed. Cause now you're psyching yourself out and there's this, this kind of waterfall effect that you're perpetuating onto yourself. 2 (39m 21s): But it's not the porn and it's not the women and it's not the dating apps, it's, it's in your own noggin. But for some reason we have like these crusaders out there that are just trying to rid of porn or are very anti-women and they're just, they're blaming all of all of those for something that's, that's not gonna be beneficial. 0 (39m 39s): All of those kind of like, like, like dopamine detox is another similar thing. All all these ideas that you have to sort of withhold pleasure from yourself in order to, I don't know what I don't know what the outcome is supposed to be, be somehow healthier down the road is, is I keep in mind we only get, like somebody calculated, it's something like 30,000 days, you know, we get like 30,000 days in our lives and that might be the wrong number, but it's something around there, you know, if you, if you start, you know, wasting them by the dozens to deprive yourself of the, the, the reward for all of us is six feet of dirt. You know, at the end of no matter how virtuously we live, you know, I'm not saying we shouldn't live virtuously, but you know, if we go overboard and actually start depriving ourselves where we're just making, we're purposely making ourselves miserable for some number of days of our lives. 0 (40m 29s): What's, and in particular, if there's no actual health benefit from this sort of thing where there is not from these sorts of activities, I just think you're, you know, sort of like throwing money down the toilet. You're just throwing days of your life down the grave basically, you know? So No, go ahead. Have fun. 2 (40m 48s): No, that's what I'm saying too. I think there's like this weird inherent distrust that people are having in themselves. So it's like, hmm, well if I, I can't trust myself to, to enjoy anything, I can't trust myself with pleasure, whether that's like sexually or like the intimacy of someone else or if it's with food. Like people get crazy with food now too. It's like we, we have to be able to trust that we can moderate our, the things that bring us joy like not to overindulge and to me the be the best way, it's like exercise, like resistance training. Like you have to have some kind of exposure for something to push back at versus just like complete abstinence. Because to me that's kinda like the lazy way out. 2 (41m 28s): Yeah. It's like, it's very easy not to be te by not to be tempted by something that's not there versus learning, learning to how, how to like mitigate that, if that makes sense. Yeah, 0 (41m 37s): It does. Yeah. I think the thing too with like Gen Z and I, you know, I kind of hate categorizing people by generations, but within, you know, more recent groups of youth at any rate is, I mean first off they are, they are having less sex. You know, they, they're or they're waiting to have sex later and they're having sex less frequently, which is sort of interesting. It's also interesting to see how like you can't win. Cuz I remember 10 years ago people were complaining that teens were having too much sex. Now they're complaining teens are having too little sex. I mean, you can't, you can't win and people are just gonna complain. People are just gonna complain no matter what. But I, I think there is a sense, at least in some sub communities of youth, I don't know that like the average kid necessarily tapped into this. 0 (42m 20s): But yeah, there, there seems to be a vibe at least in some sub-communities that like sex is dangerous, you know, that they've removed the, there's a lot of talk about gender and sexual identity, but this also the sort of vibe that like sex is on fun and dangerous. And, and again, some of that I think is fair in the sense of like, obviously issues are on consent, you wanna make sure both partners are having a good time and this kind of stuff and everybody's on board. And so having discussions about that I think is very fair. But I think it's kind of the pendulum is swung a lot in the opposite direction of being too licentious in the sense of now everybody's like on their tippy toes of, you know, on one hand, you know, for, for women every sexual encounter might degenerate into an assault and for men, every sexual encounter might degenerate into a criminal charge or, or at least Title IX investigation or something of that sort, you know. 0 (43m 14s): So I think again, that was in response to real problems. You know, I don't want to discredit that, but I think it also has created this sense of around sexuality for some younger people today that it's a much more dangerous activity where, you know, again, even what, 30 or 40 years ago we were learning about safe sex where our, my generation was talking about safe sex, you know, the people like, yeah, make sure you wear a condom, make sure the girl says yes. You know? So there were a few of those messages that yeah, I think there were fine messages, but there wasn't the sense of like, you know, you, if you, if you, if you have sex with someone, you're going to die or your life will be ruined. Or like everybody you're going to have sex with possibly is trying to destroy your life. 0 (43m 58s): So yeah, I I think there's been this really kind of erosion in trust, as you said, both in ourselves To some extent, but also in our ability to communicate with other people and you know, and, and have this sense of being able to have a mutually pleasurable fun experience with another person and be able to do that without having a written contract practically, you know, oh my gosh, make sure and, and lawyers involved and, and every step, you know, I'm gonna touch your left shoulder now, is that okay? You know, and all the stuff that you know seems to be, yeah, we, we, we made fun. I remember Saturday Night Live literally making fun of this like 15, 20 years ago. And now it's just kind of how like the, a lot of the younger people think sex should be, and I don't, I don't know, I mean, I don understand 2 (44m 44s): That way and all of the excitement, you can't, you have to have a little bit of like mystery like, is this gonna happen? Is he gonna kiss me? Is he gonna, you know what I mean? Yeah. Like not the here's sign on the dotted line. That way everyone's happy. That's crazy to me. Like obviously we're all, again, it goes back to like not trusting ourselves or I guess our partners, but like breeding social cues. You should be able to very much tell if someone is okay with you doing X, Y, or Z. Like your, their body, even if they're not telling you is gonna say yes or no. 0 (45m 16s): Yeah, 2 (45m 16s): I think, yeah, 0 (45m 17s): I mean even just, you know, I've been married 20 years at this point. I can't imagine like, you know, trying to, you know, with my wife, like, here, here's a contract I like you to sign for tonight. Of all the things that, you know, step by step, you know, initial here, initial there as we go through, you know, it's just not how people work, you know, To some extent. And if you have this sort of vibe that you need that in order to engage in an activity, you know, again, I'm not from that generation, but it feels, or it looks from the outside, like it's just made this very frightening or very scary and at least some of the ways I see some people talk about it now. There's, there's, there's some young people that are having sex and enjoying themselves. 0 (45m 58s): I don't wanna make it sound like it's everybody, but there does seem to be, again, kind of a subset of, of young people that really seem to be struggling around, you know, incorporating their, developing sexuality into their identity and, and into their social, you know, relationships with other people. And, and again, I think maybe the pendulum swung a little bit too far into, you know, making things sound scarier than they usually are for most people. 2 (46m 23s): Did you read the Boy Crisis? 0 (46m 25s): I don't think I read that one. 2 (46m 27s): Oh my gosh. I highly recommend it to everyone. Like even if you don't have children or if you don't have a son, it's just a really interesting insight into kind of where we are societally and even globally. But they we're bringing up statistics about Japan specifically and yeah, it's like the average age of someone losing their virginity in Japan is like 30 years old. 0 (46m 52s): Wow. Okay. 2 (46m 52s): Yeah. So like they are not having sex and I think it's them and Korea, like obviously South Korea are going through kind of like, what's the word? Like I guess depopulation, like, they're just not having children either, so they're getting married super late. And then obviously there's a question about fertility once you're not even getting married until like you're in your thirties, so then you're just yeah, like gonna have these races that just kind of disappear because of, I would assume fear around sex and lack of purpose. And it gets into a lot of, a lot of problems with boys and it, he has a whole section on school shootings in there as well and he kind of correlates it to the lack of father figure in the house. 2 (47m 37s): He does get into some mental health issues, which is interesting because we don't ever hear that brought up. We don't hear, oh, well he was schizophrenic or he was whatever, whatever antisocial we, he, we don't hear that side of it. And I think it's because we don't wanna dest, we don't wanna stigmatize mental health, but it's like to what costs? Like if this is, if there's a problem and we are all on board with lowering gun violence, I don't think anyone is like, yes, I want more of that. Everyone's, this is a problem, how do we solve it? We have to be honest about all of the contributing factors. So if we're just saying, oh, it's Hollywood or, or it's porn or it's, you know, X, y, Z but we're not being honest about everything that's going on biologically with this person and even within their own home. 2 (48m 22s): Like, are they getting beat at home? Do they not have a father? Do they not have a mother? Are they getting bullied at school? Like what are all of the contributing factors to this, this this person doing a hor a horrific act and you see it too. And I guess like, sorry to bring it up, but it just seems like I can't stop but see like the parallels because it's, when people are involved with sexual violence or human trafficking, they automatically blame porn and it's like, well that seems like a really big leap to me. I think that there's a lot of underlying issues that we're not talking about and why are we not talking about them? 0 (48m 57s): Yeah. Well I, I think, like I said, a lot of it does come down to the, you know, the politics, so, you know, on the, on their right, you know, you, you'll see people who don't wanna talk about gun control, so they'll talk about the video games and you know, this is one thing I did criticize President Trump in writing for if we, if we ever really, by the way, do end up with a fascist government in the us I'm doomed. I'm the, the first one at, at the wall is gonna get shot. I've written too many things down to deny them at this point. But obviously I don't think that's actually where we're going. I think there's a lot of hyperbole around that. But yeah, I mean, so there's, there's that sense on like, on the right, people don't wanna talk about like any kind of gun control sort of stuff. 0 (49m 39s): And I understand some of the reasons why they're suspicious, you know, about the left's views on that. And it would help if people on the left wouldn't say yes, literally, we're gonna come take your guns away. Right. First off. But that's another, another discussion. But yeah, I think with, you know, the, both the mental health and the fatherlessness issue, yeah. I think this, all these things come down to like uncomfortable truths that we don't wanna talk about on one side or the other. I mean, on the right of course, having lots of guns around is gonna contribute to the homicide rate, you know, you know, it's hard to deny that on some level. 0 (50m 20s): And I, I don't advocate a UK Australia, like take everybody's guns away, sort of response to that. But, but we ought to be at least able to say that this is a contributing factor on some level. On, on the other hand, of course, mental health increases people's risk for violence. You know, we, we, this this is very, very clear in the literature. So there is this weird sort of like thing on the left where they're very worried about stigmatization of the mentally ill. And I get it cuz you know, that, that certainly is a real concern. But you can't lie, you know, you, there, there are ways of discussing this issue. You point out like most mentally ill people don't commit violent crimes. There isn't elevated risk. They are not bad people. 0 (51m 0s): They literally don't understand what they're doing. You know, and if maybe, and if you deny that there's any link whatsoever, you actually remove any impetus for society to be concerned about this. You know, in the sense of well then why should we bother buying, buying or building mental health facilities if they don't hurt us? You know, because people tend to respond better to incentives that benefit themselves. So if you're saying we should build mental health centers because it will benefit the mentally ill, that's not a persuasive argument. If on the other hand you say we should build mental health centers, so some of them won't attack you. That's a persuasive argument is a reality of it. People will make decisions that are self-interested, you know, and same thing with the fatherless stuff. 0 (51m 44s): I think with the fatherless, once again, the evidence is pretty clear that lack of a father figure in a family is associated with a host of negative outcomes for both boys and girls, but the legally boys including crime. Right. You know, but there again, I think people are concerned about stigmatizing single mothers because of course, you know, they're working hard, they're doing their best. There's no doubt that that is true. There are some racial disparities in fatherlessness. So people feel like, well if we point out that fatherless is particularly high in one community versus another one that that is going to promote racial stigma or something of that sort, you know? But again, I think that you can't lie though. I mean, there are ways of trying to, you know, give a nuance and complicated argument of saying like, these things are true. 0 (52m 29s): But that doesn't mean like everybody in this community comes from a, a fatherless home or that, you know, certainly their fatherless exists in, you know, most ethnic communities at different levels, you know, you know, so there are ways I think are handling that, that reduce the potential for racial stigma or stigma towards the mentally ill or whatever. But what seems to happen is people are just like, like you said, either ignoring the issue whatsoever, pretending it doesn't exist or, or lying about it. I imagine lying is hard. Maybe people believe their own narrative, I don't know. But with the mental, mental illness stuff, they're, you know, but what they're saying is certainly not true. That there's no link between mental illness and, you know, and criminal violence, for instance. 0 (53m 10s): So, but, but I think these things actually end up not helping the communities that they're supposedly defending, you know, so they're, it's making it harder for the mentally ill to get services. It's making it harder to intervene in lower income communities where filed. And this tends to be very high if you don't, you know, know, maybe there are ways we can promote fatherlessness, but if you don't acknowledge that it's a problem, then nobody's gonna tackle it. And that's not helping those people. 2 (53m 34s): I totally agree. I think it could because until you, until you start lifting out the layers and seeing what's really underneath all of this, you can't even start to formulate a plan or a solution to anything. And if you have these kids that are hurting, it's that old adage that hurt people, hurt people. Well, if we don't know what we're looking for, how do we help them before they hurt other people? And then this things just keeps perpetuate perpetuating. And then you see also, and I think that this is one of those things where we talk about the pendulum going too far. It's like this rehabilitation idea with kids. So one argument that I've seen is that these kids will start to show antisocial tendencies like that are getting them suspended after like, you know, one time after another after another. 2 (54m 16s): And instead of doing an expulsion or maybe some other Intervention, they're just like, we're just gonna keep putting a bandaid on it. And then all of a sudden this really troubled kid who's just been rehabilitated instead of like, I don't wanna say treated, but for lack of better words, treated, nurtured, cared for and repaired ends up in a situation that could have been preventable. 0 (54m 37s): Yeah. Well, I mean, I think the reality is, is that we really don't have an effective Intervention system for mental health at any level. Whether we're talking about school, kids are starting to show problems, you know, behavioral problems in schools, which, you know, I don't work in the schools, but I'm hearing a lot of reports suggesting that teachers are really having a tough time of it right now because there are so many kids, you know, but maybe particularly post covid that are really struggling with developmental behavioral problems and this sort of stuff. And kind of consistent with what you said that the teachers feel defanged, you know, that the administration's really not supporting them with these kids, you know, but also, you know, with adults, you know, if you have someone who has schizophrenia, you know, whether they're a minor or an adult, there's really not much support for these, these people, you know? 0 (55m 26s): And so they end up homeless or, you know, unemployed or Yeah, they're, and really bad outcomes for these people. And you know, I I, I am, I'm sort of an advocate for this idea. We really need to start developing some kind of state sponsored long-term inpatient type care for people that are really showing, like I'm sort of familiar with the Nicholas Cruise case, you know, to To some extent. I actually, you know, consulted for a while with the prosecution in that case. But there, there was a situation where he had an individual who threw out his, his lifespan, I mean, just showed problem after problem after problem, you know, way back to elementary school. And at some point you kind of think like, this person really needed to be in a facility, you know, where the, where they, he could get care. 0 (56m 9s): He was separated from society, so he wasn't a danger to other kids or young adults or, you know, whatever else. Now, of course, the problems are, are several, one, someone has to pay for this, right. You know, so it's gonna be more taxes. That's gonna gonna be an argument. You have to try to sell to the general populace of voters. Two, you have to make sure there's good due process in these facilities so people aren't just being locked away forever with no chance of resuming normal life if they get better. And also you have to make sure the care is humane, right. You know, that is the best standard of care, evidence-based medicine. Not like what happened in like the 1920s, you know, in asylums, which is oftentimes very cruel and not very effective. 0 (56m 50s): So, so there are a lot of, I think, cognitive blocks to why people are hesitant to recreate some sort of, for lack of a better word, asylum system. But I think really at some point we're gonna have to acknowledge that we have to have some kind of long-term care. We can definitely do it a lot better than historically long-term care look like in the United States or anywhere else. But right now what we're doing is not working. Some of these individuals are committing crimes. The others, even if they're not committing crimes, a lot of 'em end up homeless or drug addicted or alcohol addicted or have a variety of other problems. And you know, we, we can go to any big city and we can see people with obvious schizophrenia just walking around. 0 (57m 31s): And they're not all, most of 'em aren't hurting anybody, but I don't know that just leaving 'em on the streets the right choice either. Exactly. You know, so, and sure, maybe most of 'em won't never be violent. But you can make, I think to those, you make the argument of like, we'll just, you know, if we can just get all these people help, you know, which may be long-term inpatient care, some of them might have been violent, you know, and though we won't ever know who was who, but that might reduce at least a few incidents that it won't clear up like gang violence. But, you know, it might clear up a few acts of violence. And that's probably good for those people that are now not going to be victims of crime, you know, because these people are getting the care that they need in these facilities. But we'll see, once I become grand pba, they'll make, I'll make these changes. 0 (58m 13s): But 2 (58m 14s): No, it's interesting that you nailed it. I mean, there is no, there's kind of no early Intervention. And the interesting thing is, is almost all, you know, mass shooters or like perpetrators of, of violent crimes or men or young boys, right? Like it's, it's heavily male dominated when it comes to that. Yet when it comes to like any early interventions or any state run programs or gov, government run programs, like everything's for females, like mental health care is for females. But, and it's not to say that, you know, we don't need it and like it's a one gender thing, but it's to say like if we're, if we're trying to make the biggest impact on violence and you wanna catch it early, you need to have programs that are geared towards men. 2 (58m 58s): And you need to have, you know, if they, if they don't have the resources for it, you need to have some kind of grant for that. And just like awareness brought to it and education through schools and community, like communities like church and whatever you have. But right now everything is geared towards women. And that was brought up too in that book, which is so interesting. It's like almost like, we don't wanna solve the problem. It's like, okay, okay, we have this thing like at least step in early cuz that's when you're gonna make a difference. And did you ever read, I think it's called Just Babies Good versus Evil. Did you read that one when it came out? 0 (59m 34s): I, I, no, but I'm convinced that all babies are evil. I'm sure. 2 (59m 37s): Well I've been to the playground and I've seen some horrific children there for sure. But it's the idea of like, if you are born like good or bad essentially. And they've, they've tried to show studies of early babies actually being able to detect empathy or like good and good and or right and wrong essentially. And obviously you're trying to superimpose your, the way that you see it onto them, cuz they can't speak, they're all non-verbal, but essentially they have exercises of, you know, shapes pushing a ball up a up a hill and then you have one shape that's, you know, trying to push it back down and like, cause problems and then they kind of avoid that shape. So they're like, well, are they just avoiding it? Or do they really understand like good and evil? 2 (1h 0m 18s): But they get into the case of this one little kid who just seemed to be very violent at a very early age. Like he was five or something, and he is like using pen pencils as weapons and stabbing other kids in the face. And you're like, whoa, that's a little bit elevated. So it's the idea of do you think that some people are inherently born with empathy and not, because the, I guess like the, the conversation is that, so sociopaths and psychopaths don't have empathy. Correct. And it's like one in 25 is supposed to be a sociopath or a psychopath. So if that many people don't have empathy, does that mean that they can't be fixed? Because there is that, that story that the personality disorders can't be fixed. 2 (1h 0m 60s): Yeah. 0 (1h 1m 0s): And that that's all pretty accurate. Yeah, it's about 4% of men have antisocial personality disorder, maybe about 1% of women. But there's also a different personality disorder called borderline personality disorder, which really just looks like the female version of antisocial. And that's again, maybe about 3% of, of women and 1% of men have borderline personality disorder. But, so yeah, you're probably about right. Somewhere around four to 5% of individuals have, you know, one of these more aggressive personality disorders and yeah, I mean a lot of it is genetic, you know, so not, not all of it is genetic, but, but a lot of it does appear to be genetic. I mean, what we, you can, which is a little bit scary when you're thinking like, of adopting children by the way. But, you know, but you know, what you can kind of say is like if you have a child who has the genes that predispose them to psychopathy, then you know, that seems kind of scary. 0 (1h 1m 52s): But what can you do as like parents, right? And it, and it still does matter the environment in which the person lives, you know. So what you can do is if you take your psychopath baby, that's such a weird thing to say, but yes, psychopath baby. And you give them an otherwise nurturing, loving, stable environment, they'll still go up to be a psychopath, but they might be a lawyer, right. You know, they'll, they'll find some place where psychopathy actually works in society and it does like law or business, you know, frontline combat troops, something like that. You know, volunteer frontline, combat troops, same thing. There are places where that personality style actually is desirable, if you will. You know, and you don't want them to be like a therapist, right? 0 (1h 2m 34s): You know, you or, or like a kindergarten teacher, you want them to be, you know, some of these other places. On the other hand, if you neglect and abuse your psychopath, that's where you're likely to end up, you know, with someone who's, you know, gonna be a criminal or something, something much worse. So, you know, so if you take someone that doesn't have the predisposition and you're nice to them, you know, they become a kindergarten teacher. If you're not so nice to them, they become a neurotic kindergarten teacher, you know, but they're still gonna be a kindergarten, you know, they're still not gonna be a psychopath. It's because you abuse them. The same thing if you have someone who's predisposed of psychopathy and you're nice to them, they become a lawyer or a police officer or something like that. And if you're not so nice to them, then they become, you know, the, so it really is that sort of mixture of, you know, the genetics and the environment in which the person is raised. 0 (1h 3m 20s): They both have an influence, but you can't ever take your psychopath and be super, super nice to them and end up with a kindergarten teacher. Right. You know, cause they're, because the genes do set the range of possible outcomes you can you get from that person. But, but yeah, they do show, I mean, you know, babies temperaments are correlated pretty highly with adult personality, you know, so the, the friendly easy babies tend to be friendly, easy adults. The crabby difficult babies tend to be crabby difficult adults. And that's just kinda how it goes, you know? That's 2 (1h 3m 53s): So interesting. I didn't know that. 0 (1h 3m 54s): Yeah, yeah, yeah. PE personality is pretty, pretty stable even from early years now. Of course there is some variation, some flexibility in it in the early years, but usually by the time we hit teenage years, I mean, you know, by the time you're 18, who you are is largely who you are. You know, there again, it's not that you don't change at all for the rest of your life. You do, but you're not gonna change radically. You know, so if you're a jerk at 18, you're, you're gonna be a jerk at 78, you know, as well. Maybe be a little bit more of a jerk, a little bit less of a jerk. But you know, you're not gonna suddenly become Mother Teresa or anything of that sort somewhere along, you know, unless you're visited by the ghosts of Christmas, past, present, and future. 0 (1h 4m 36s): It's really the only thing I've ever heard of that can change a personality radically, or a head injury, I suppose could possibly do it. And some usually for the worst though. So yeah, you're kinda stuck with yourself. That's, that's the yeah, for some people, the downside of of having a personality disorder, they have people that are, have some personality disorders like narcissistic or histrionic or even antisocial don't really care. They're, they're happy to have 'em. But you know, if you have a personality disorder that's more aversive for you as an individual, then it is a struggle. I mean, because, you know, it may be causing you some problems. You don't like that aspect of yourself, but it's actually very, very hard to change any aspect of the personality once someone is, is entered, you know, adolescence or certainly adulthood. 2 (1h 5m 19s): Yeah. I was gonna ask, so is the reason that personality disorders can't be fixed because they don't want to fix them or because it's just we haven't cracked that code yet? 0 (1h 5m 28s): Yeah, it's, it's, I mean it, I I don't know what it would take there, there really isn't anything to fix them, you know, so personality seems to crystallize to a large degree. Again, I I won't say a hundred percent, you know, cuz there is still some change that occurs later in life to a, to a great degree. Our personalities hardened, if you will, you know, by the time we're in adolescence and young adulthood, which, and yeah, there are a lot of people that have like, like one is basically called avoidant personality disorder, which is just means that they're super shy, like pathologically shy, and they're mis you know, oftentimes they're very miserable. They, they don't want to be shy, right? Because they're missing out on romantic partners. They're not, they don't have as many friends, they're less likely to get married. 0 (1h 6m 8s): All kinds of like negative things happen to them. They, they just, they're not avoidant because they don't want these relationships. They do, but they just are so anxious. It's, it's not even just regulating, it's like a personality level of anxiety that happens around this. And they would love to not be so shy, but unfortunately there isn't like a really great fix for that. So with a lot of these things, you can try to come up with workarounds, you know, for, for, for people like maybe they're, especially now in today in modern society, maybe they're more comfortable with like, you know, an online dating app or something of that sort than they would be meeting people in person or whatever. Same thing with like borderline personality disorder, which is marked by self-destructive behavior and impulsivity and self mutilation and aggression. 0 (1h 6m 52s): That the things that they do to treat that don't take the borderline personality disorder away, but instead of, they'll have 'em do stuff like instead of cutting themselves, you know, which of course can leave scars or can get infected. They'll tell 'em to do things like poor Hannah tattoo wax on their skin and then rip it off, which hurts as much as the cutting does, but doesn't cause any scarring. Doesn't actually cause an injury or anything of that sort. So it basically shifting the person's, you know, pathology from something that's gonna harm them to something that's gonna harm them much less. And those are at the workaround sometimes people will try to figure out for, for personality disorder. So you, you still have borderline personality disorder, but you have a few mechanisms in place to, you know, I think like someone has memory loss, right? 0 (1h 7m 37s): And starts using like little stickies everywhere to remember things. It's kinda the same thing, right? You're coming up with little adaptations to try to help the person to, you know, work around whatever deficits they may have in their personality. But the personality itself doesn't really change much across, I wish I could say it was different, you know, I, I mean that's, I understand that's not a very optimistic message for some people, but, and I wish it was different for people that are suffering with, with personality disorders, but, but the reality is that they don't really change. It's sort like intelligence. Intelligence doesn't really change across the lifespan either. You know, you can buy all the books about how to improve your IQ you want. And the reality is, is if you, if you test it as an IQ of 110 when you were five, you're gonna die with an IQ of about 110. 0 (1h 8m 18s): You know, there's not a whole lot that you can do to, to change that over a lifespan. 2 (1h 8m 23s): No, I think that's important to hear though, because I i, if you find yourself in a relationship with someone who either like, let's say is a narcissist personality, or if you have a parent that's borderline or you're in a relationship with someone that's borderline, I think it can be really easy to try to like fix, like constantly try to fix, fix, fix. And like they'll change, they'll change. But I think it's good, again, it goes back to like not lying and having honest conversations Yeah. Of where that threshold of change can happen. Like, like you said, like you can improve, but it's never gonna completely go away. So you have to know exactly what you're dealing with before you can be like, I'm on board with this relationship. 0 (1h 9m 1s): Yeah. Well it, it seems like, you know, some people even seem to purposely pick romantic partners to fix, you know, so the, I I hear like, I like a partner with a challenge is kind of like the, the narrative that that that I've heard sometime, and I'm gonna start sounding a little bit Freudian, but I'm really not a Freudian psychologist at all. But there, yeah, there seems to be this element of, I I call it the All Men Are Assholes effect. Just because it's kind of fun to put that in that gender direction now. Now of course men do this as much as women, so it's not really trying to pick on women, but yeah, I, I hear a lot of women say things like All, Men, Are, Assholes. And what it really kind of boils down to is what they're saying is, all men that I choose to date are Assholes, you know? Yeah. And cause oftentimes they'll say this to me and I'm a guy and like, well, and they say, oh no, no, no, not you, you're, you're you're in the friend zone, you know, you're okay. 0 (1h 9m 48s): You're a different, you know, and yeah, I mean, you know, it's, I I, one I had this, you know, tell really quick story. I, one time had this friend in graduate school who was in this long relationship on and off again, like for like a year and a half and just broke up, got back together, broke up, got back together, really dysfunctional. There's no abuse or anything like that. But other than that was emotionally dysfunctional. She eventually dumped the guy and went out then on a date with another guy. And the guy that she went out on a date with, she would just tell me the story. The, the night after or the morning after was a doctor, medical doctor, first off he showed up like in a Mercedes. He brought her flowers, like held the door open for, you know, held seat. 0 (1h 10m 30s): That was a perfect gentleman who was handsome, like tall, dark and handsome kind of a thing. Brought her, brought her out to a nice restaurant. They had, you know, he was charming, they had a great time. He made her laugh, he was funny. He was as, as she was pet. He was a good guy. He was a nice guy. He was funny, he was smart, he was a nice, nice guy. And I said, you're not going out with him again, are you? And she said, no. And I asked you why I, I don't wanna go out with him at this point. And, and, and, and she said, well, then she kinda stumbled. She kinda said, well, I don't know, it just didn't kinda click. And I, I said, yeah, what it was, he was too nice, you know? And she said, yeah, that's exactly what it was. 0 (1h 11m 12s): I think that's where, where she said something like, I need to feel like I have a bit more of a challenge, you know, or something of that sort. So it seems to be where the Freudian thing comes in is like sometimes you look into like the backgrounds of, of people that say it and men do it too. I'm trying make it clear, I'm not really picking on women here. Men do it too, of course. But you know, in essence that Freud would say that, you know, these people are really trying to recreate a parent-child relationship that was dysfunctional and they're trying to fix it symbolically with a romantic partner. Now, I don't know if that's necessarily true or not, but, but sometimes you do find the people that do that pattern that do actually have some problems with their parents at some point. 2 (1h 11m 50s): For sure. I think there's something to that. And I also think what I hear with those types of relationships, and I have been guilty of that 100% when I was here, is like purposely picking the wrong guy, is that if you have a lot of instability and, and chaos in your home growing up, that you confuse that for a spark and a romantic partner. So if everything is calm and if everything feels healthy, you're like, I like this is so uncomfortable for me because that's not what I'm used to. I'm used to chaos. So you have to have chaos and then you confuse that as a spark when really that's just unhealthy and unhealthy dynamic, 0 (1h 12m 26s): Right? Yeah. Well I, I try to tell like, you know, I, I tell these stories in my classes and I tell the women in my classes, like I hear a lot of young women say that they, well date a man for his potential. And I'm really here to say that men have no potential. Like what, what you're seeing on the first date is as good as it is gonna ever get. Cause our effort is at a hundred percent and that hundred percent is going to fall like a mountain side from that point on. So things are not gonna get better than, than the first date. So if you think you're seeing potential, you're, you're really reading too much into the, into the situation. But yeah, that's just kinda how it works out. But, so I, I hope, I hope that I've like, you know, changed people's lives by, by clothing them into this sort of phenomenon before they delve into themselves too far down the line. 0 (1h 13m 17s): So yeah, try to find a nice person, male or female, gay or straight, I don't care. You know, find someone you actually get along with peacefully. Cause a spark, sparks never last anyway. So you want someone who's gonna be like your best friend. Yeah, 2 (1h 13m 30s): Exactly. So how long have you been married? 0 (1h 13m 33s): I've been married 20 years and I'm married to my best friend. 2 (1h 13m 35s): Oh, I love that. Yeah. So we're going on our seventh year of marriage and then together for like 12 or something. It took him a long time, but yes. Together for like 12 and yeah, the, the spark is just, I've had, I've read books where it breaks down the exact neurochemistry of what that excitement is in the beginning stage. Yeah. And it like cannot last past something like three months. Like that's the average bell curve of that spark and all of that excitement and the random passion and all of that. So unless you want a series of three month relationships, you have to be able to go past that spark anyways. So it's how do you create that? And Esther Pearl is one of my favorite people when it comes to like recreating that spark and keeping the passion alive in your relationship. 2 (1h 14m 21s): Cuz that's different than a spark. The whole love story versus a life story. A love story is super exciting and erotic, but that's not, that's gonna fizzle out hard and quick. Yeah. You have to have someone that you can build that life story with. 0 (1h 14m 35s): Yeah, yeah. When you, when you're falling in love, you're really falling in love with an adventure, not a person, you know. And when you actually begin to truly love someone is when you kind of realize like, well this person's got some good stuff and this person's got some flaws, but the flaws are really not that bad. I can live with them and I really like the good stuff about them. So on balance, you know, they are adding positively to my life. I believe that I am adding positively to their life. This is a good partnership. You know, we can, you know, go through all the different travails of life and I believe this person has my back. I believe I have the ability to have their back if, if they need it. And that's really what a healthy relationship I think. Yeah. In my opinion really, really looks like. 0 (1h 15m 16s): But yeah, you have to be okay with that or actually, I, I think it's better. I mean I, you know, like I said, we've been married 20 years. She's definitely my best friend. It's nice to have a best friend I can bring with me everywhere I go as I've moved over the years. So that, that is super, super cool and and I would say like, you know, life has its ups and downs and I can't imagine having gone through the last 20 years without having my wife Diana in it, you know? Cause there have been some significant downs that my dad died, you know, career was stressful at different points and not having that support that she was able to offer. Yeah. I would be a fraction of the person I was today without that. And, and hopefully, you know, I've been able to do the same for her because of course it definitely is a two-way street. 0 (1h 16m 0s): It shouldn't all be about like what the person does for you, but also what you can do for that other person. But, but that's not usually how we're thinking in those first, like I said, first three months or so, it's really about this is fun, I'm on a roller coaster, you know, but you don't really wanna like take the rollercoaster with you everywhere you go, you know, necessarily. So even if it is a fun ride for 2 (1h 16m 17s): A while, no exactly. Cuz that's not the thing that gets you through those real, like, those life moments, right? Like you're going to lose a parent at some point, or both parents and you're going to probably have to move and lose jobs and have all of these unpredictable downs. And you need someone that's like a, a stable, reliable force that you can kind of lean on. Like your, your passions aren't gonna get you through that or your excitement or your like really hot kiss. You know what I mean? Like that's fun, but you Right. Don't confuse the two. Yeah. 0 (1h 16m 47s): And at some point you're gonna be 70, you know, so Right. You have to build a structure relationship that's gonna sustain you at that point, you know, and, and hopefully we all are still having sex at 70. Right. You know, cause it's, it's good for the heart, it's good for a lot of things. Right. You know, so I'm not trying to say you can't have any passion when you're 70, but you know, life will be a lot different than, and you want someone that you know, know you can enjoy not just the moment you're in at, at any given time, but also you can really think of like, I'm okay with spending not just the past 20 years but the next 20 years with this person as well. You know, and I'm looking forward to that. You know, if, if, if you're struggling and thinking like, oh my god, can I picture being with this person when we're 75 and one of us maybe is on a c a P machine or something like that, I don't know, am I still gonna be turned on? 0 (1h 17m 33s): You know, then yeah, you might wanna think, you know something, just wanna think about, it's like, does this have a long-term potential or not? And yeah, just being on adrenaline the whole time is just, it's, you can't do that for 40 years. You can do it, like I said, maybe three months, maybe six months if you really get a lot of energy. But, and eventually it ha it just, it just has to shift To some other kind of platform for sustaining a long-term relationship. So you want something you could be, you could be your friend more than anything else really. 2 (1h 18m 3s): I totally agree. I totally agree. So what is it that you're working on right now? 0 (1h 18m 9s): Well, yeah, so I'm still doing video game stuff. I'll probably be doing video game stuff until I die. It's fun, it's easy. My university keeps buying me video game machines. There's really no downside to it. So we're actually looking right now in our lab, we're looking at a study of looking at sort of race and in video games. So of course, yeah, A lot of what I'm doing now, I picked up on the whole 2020 narrative, that kind of stuff. So we're, we're basically, although I don't think it's gonna, we're gonna see anything, you know, honestly, but we're having people play two different versions of Resident Evil, which if you're not familiar with, is a zombie shooting game. And in one of the games the zombies are mostly African and the other, they're mostly white, you know. And then we have, I have several student research assistants working with me, half of whom are black, half of 'em are white. 0 (1h 18m 55s): And so they're, they're also randomized. So when a participant comes and runs through the experiment, they're randomized to play one of the two games, but they're also randomized to get one of the two, one of these research assistants. And they work in partners, you know, pairs basically. So usually one of them will run them through the experiment and then at the end of the experiment they're given an opportunity to be mildly aggressive. And I mean, I put someone's hand in bucket of ice water, we can't have anybody knife each other in the lab of course. But, you know, so we're very mild aggression towards another person. So we wanna see like, you know, the whole idea is if, do the people who are playing the game who are shooting Africans, black zombies, essentially, are they more aggressive to the black student, you know, when they have, or vice versa, you know, we haven't run the data yet, so we don't know what the outcome, my research assistants have the impression that the game probably doesn't matter and that if anything people are meaner to the white women, then the black women. 0 (1h 19m 46s): But we'll see how that all works out. And I, I'm also doing some stuff on, on like more generally on like race and policing and crime using some like government data sets and, and things like that. And so far the short version seems to be that, again, I was sort of excited by this 2020 narrative and it looked a lot like the video game narrative where people are making these kind of like big moral claims about stuff that, you know, at least from my understanding, things were a lot more complicated than what was being said around in the news media in 2020 around policing and race and this kind of stuff. And sure enough, that's kinda what we're seeing is that if you look at like, you know, police misconducts certainly does happen, but the bigger predictors of police misconduct seem to be stuff like community level, mental health, like class issues, you know, poverty. 0 (1h 20m 32s): But also, you know, the more mentally ill people you have in the community, the more police misconduct you have. Not so much race. So it seems like it's a Legitimate issue in some respects, but the narrative in 2020 might have focused in on the wrong variable as the one to, to, to highlight, to try to reduce some of these things. And it really comes down to is police officers are not well trained in crisis deescalation, you know, so if you have, they're trained generally speaking, like if someone is doing something wrong to escalate to yell at the person. And for most of us, if a police officer yells at us, we comply because we, you know, we're scared for some with schizophrenia, they don't know what's going on. So they escalate right along with the officer. 0 (1h 21m 14s): Right. You know, and that's why you end up with some of these bad situations. So it probably would help if police officers had better mental health deescalation, crisis deescalation training so that they don't end up turning some of these, you know, like, you know, some of these cases, the the person's initial crime was something minor, I fell asleep in a drive-through at a restaurant. You know, that kinda stuff. Nobody deserves to die for that. So how do you then, if you get into that situation and that person's agitated, how do you calm them down while still doing your duty so that that situation doesn't escalate? So, so I think we need that, you know, and to talk about that. But of course what we actually did talk about in 2020 probably made things a lot, you know, the whole defund the police sort of thing made things a lot worse. 0 (1h 21m 55s): We've seen escalating homicide rates, you know, in a lot of cities, most of which have hit, you know, lower income communities. So there again, you know, sometimes people get ahead of the data and just, you know, this is a much bigger issue than video games, but sometimes when we get ahead of the data, we make decisions that are gonna hurt people, not help people. 2 (1h 22m 16s): Yeah. So how does, and and maybe this is like an abstract question, but how does a regular person who's not trained in clinical research know what data is Legitimate? Because you can always use statistics or information to kind of like prove your argument if you want, if you're, if you're sly about it. So like what are you supposed to kind of look for? Or is it just kind of having like an open mindset and saying like the, a healthy skepticism to like this might be incorrect? 0 (1h 22m 45s): Yeah, that's a great question. I, I would say like for people as individuals, if you kind of think like the more emotionally sure you are of something, the less likely you are to be correct. Like, if it upsets you to think about being wrong about something, you probably have gone off the rails and we all do it. We're all human. I'm not, you know, but you know, sometimes we all get agitated by like, no, the Democrats are definitely right, you know, all the time. You know, the without exception, you know, we all have these moments, you know, but the more like you feel yourself just getting like upset about the possibility that the data may be more nuanced or complicated than what you think is probably hint for yourself that you maybe are just not as open-minded about that topic. 0 (1h 23m 28s): You know, again, I don't claim to be immune to this, you know, this is a very human way of being. As far as the, you know, listening to, obviously we know news media are full of crap. I mean, it's, it is, I wish I had a a sense of like, other than being like generally trying to tap back into a sense of critical thinking, which doesn't really guide us towards the truth as much as being aware that we might not be hearing the truth, which at least is the first step. I guess the, the reality is right now we're living in a, in a moment where everybody's kind of full of crap. You know, news media, politicians, even professional guilds like the American Psychological Association are just terrible source of information. 0 (1h 24m 9s): I wish I could tell you like, oh, just go to go to go to my website. That's where all the truth is. There, there is no single source that you can definitively go to. The, the one thing we find in research is that people who listen to both sides, you know, quote unquote, both sides tend to be the best informed. So in other words, like thinking in terms of news media, the people who are the best informed are the ones who listen to both left news media like CNN or MSNBC and listen to Fox News or anything else on the right. So by getting both sides of it, they sometimes end up in a place that is a bit more consistent with where the data actually are. But of course that takes a bit more time and investment, you know, to get there. But in general, I think what happens is we tend to trust authorities more than we really should. 0 (1h 24m 57s): And so if we, we, if we read something in the news media, whatever it may be, we oftentimes just have no idea, you know, what the truth is, you know, so we have no real way of testing for ourselves whether what we're hearing is true or not and thinking like global warming. I mean, I personally believe that, you know, humans are contributing to it. But I dunno, I I, I've never seen any of the data. I wouldn't know how to read it, you know, so I have To some trust that authorities are not completely full of crap. But you know, on the other hand, it does help to understand that climate scientists are humans too, you know, and can get stuck in their own rabbit holes sometimes. I, I would, I would, I would love it if they were wrong. 0 (1h 25m 38s): I don't, I don't think that they are, but I, I would love it if they were wrong. But yeah, I think that sense of having a healthy skepticism, you don't wanna go completely tinfoil hat, you know, and like, you know, reject science and go to YouTube instead. That's not healthy either. But, but having a healthy skepticism, particularly if a message seems to, to be sounding scientific but really is moral, is a moral message that's being sort of wrapped up in some numbers, then that's when you really should be like really, really sensitive to the idea. You might be getting some bad information. Even if it sounds like scientists, the idea that you, here's a science and you're a bad person if you don't sort of follow along with the narrative that we're selling you, you're anti-science and just morally corrupt somehow that's probably a warning sign that you're getting some sense of like, you know, you're being misled To some extent. 2 (1h 26m 30s): No, that's really good because I feel like any of the arguments that I can think of off of the top of my head that's exactly where they led was really trying to get you with your emotions and then link it right back to a morality. And it's like these things are not linked, like morality has nothing to do, whether this causes this, like those are two separate issues and you're allowed to have your opinion, but don't confuse that with science and, and hard data. Yeah, 0 (1h 26m 54s): Yeah. And I guess too, if you're hearing like, you know, two different messages that are somehow mutually exclusive, but it's all, the one I think of is like, you know, on the, on the left, I'm sure again, there're examples on the right too. And I, I wish I could balance 'em a little bit better, but I live in lefty spaces, so that's also why I have more examples from there. But, but the one of like, there was, yeah, the controversy being ongoing about like critical race theory in schools, and so you hear this like narrative of, oh, we're not teaching critical race theory in schools, but if we are, it's good. You know? And it's like, like two, like, like, well which one is it? You know, pick one. They can't both be true. And, and, and that's a weird defense, you know, of, you know, the Republicans might be wrong about a lot of this stuff. I'm open to that, you know, I don't, and again, I don't actually approve of their solutions to a lot of the issues around c r t in schools, but, you know, that defensive, like, we're not teaching it, but if we are, it's good. 0 (1h 27m 44s): It's a really, really weird narrative for a defense. And that's where again, maybe a red flag might come up saying like, something's something just sounds off here and I don't think you're telling me the whole truth. And so that might be, you know, just one example. And again, I'm sure there are, are there plenty of examples on the right that are exactly like that just don't happen to have one on my, the top of my 2 (1h 28m 3s): Head? No, no, you're tol you're totally right. And I think it's just, again, it's not conflating like science with morality and it's like, whose job is it to teach any of these things to our kids? Like, I wouldn't want my kid going to his school and then all of a sudden I find out they take him and they're trying to teach him like hardcore Catholic views, right? Because that's n those aren't the views that we have in my household. It's not to say like, I don't respect anyone that's Catholic. Absolutely. I respect your choice of religion, but that's not for my family and my household and that's not your job as a state employee is to indate my child into catho, into Catholicism. So it's, it's not like a, a bigoted thing to say like, I don't want my kid learning c r t. 2 (1h 28m 46s): It's like, well, whose job is it to teach right and wrong and morality and how not to be racist? Like, I mean, that's, most people agree. Like obviously racism is horrible, but the way that it's all framed right now is also not right. Like, you can't say, say just generalize based off of skin pigment, whether or not you're oppressed or not. Like that's wild too. Yeah. So it's like everything just seems to be such an extreme these days. Like we can't just like settle in the middle of this pendulum swing. It's like crash into one wall that's wrong, crash into the other wall, into like both sides are equally damaged. Just doesn't make any sense to 0 (1h 29m 22s): Me. Yeah, it does. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And, and it, you know, it, it reminds me too of the whole teen sex thing where, you know, we used to be complaining about like teens are having too much sex and now they're not having enough where it's like it wasn't 10 years ago, people are complaining parents aren't involved enough in schools now. Now if people were saying parents are too involved in schools, 2 (1h 29m 41s): Extreme terrorists or whatever, the 0 (1h 29m 44s): Domestic terrorists, yeah, that was, that was actually a thing. People tried to label parents complaining as domestic terrorists, you know, which again, maybe that's a little bit too far. Again, I'm not, I'm, I'm certain that some of these parents are behaving badly in some of the school meetings. I'm open to that as a likelihood. But we already have laws for threats or assaults. We don't need to to get the FBI involved in that sort of stuff. So that's always a little bit sketchy when we, I I'm always worried in general and I know, again, this is a both sides, I I, I always piss everybody off cause I'm on both sides of the risk. Both sides hate both sides arguments. But yeah, I always, I always get worried when, and again I've, you know, Trump did this and Biden has done it, you know, when the government, whoever's in charge of the government at the moment, vilifies half of the populace, you know, you, you get a society that turns on itself is always a very dangerous thing. 0 (1h 30m 40s): And, and all these messages about the 47% or the 49% or the deplorables or the whatever the hell they are the enemies of the state. You know, all this kind of stuff that goes back and forth is really a dangerous narrative. And this idea of pit pitting people against each other on left or right, white or black, male, female, whatever it is, you know, trans or cis is really unhelpful. And I wish, I wish people were in actual positions of power wish kind of stop it, but they're not for the moment. 2 (1h 31m 9s): So, no, it's hard because when you know what you do about priming or trying to get someone to, to see things in a very specific way, you can see what they're doing. But it's so hard if you're the one that's being primed to, to notice it. And it's like, for example, in that just baby's book, they did this one experiment where they had like, they had the control group and then another group that they would bring the student out into the hallway and have them stand next to a ha hand sanitizer thing and they would ask them their, their political views and their beliefs like on like sexuality. And if the kids that were standing next to the sanitizer leaned more conservative and more puritanical, cause that's, we're standing next to a trash can. 2 (1h 31m 56s): It's like that tiny little thing of just like where I place you when I ask you, you a question is going to influence your answer. So we're just incredibly malleable and incredibly influenced. And to deny that is a little bit silly. And the people at the top aren't at the top for no reason. Like they're master manipulators and it's like, just stop, stop seeing us ev everyone as your enemy because they're not, most people are in the middle. They just want to take care of their family. Have a good day, have a good home, and just like not be bothered. Right, right. It's that simple. And everything else is a little bit crazy. 0 (1h 32m 31s): Yeah. Well like I said, when I become grandpa, but I'll figure out how to fix all this. 2 (1h 32m 36s): I'll look, I'll look forward to that day. 0 (1h 32m 39s): My benevolent dictatorship. 2 (1h 32m 41s): Yes. That's what Jocko will Jocko Willem. Well, what's his willock says all the time's, like he'd be a benevolent dictator. I'm like, that's the, that's the only path to, to fixing all of this mess. 0 (1h 32m 55s): I've been building my empire slow so far, but it's coming along. 2 (1h 32m 57s): Yeah. One, one stone at a time. Well this was really wonderful. It was great meeting you virtually. Do you want to tell the listeners where they can follow you on how they can support you in any way? 0 (1h 33m 10s): Absolutely. You can send cash directly to No, I'm, I'm just kidding. Now I, I have, I have a website which is very unimaginative. It's just my names www christopher j Ferguson dot com. I've also got a couple books on Amazon. I've got one on, on video games, moral Combat, why the War on Violent Video Games is Wrong. And a more recent one, how madness shaped history. So you can look, I got a couple those on there too. So there's a few books to buy. Help, help put my kid through college. There 2 (1h 33m 38s): We go. That's my, 0 (1h 33m 38s): That's my pitch 2 (1h 33m 39s): People, people. Well, thank you so much. 0 (1h 33m 42s): Well thank you for having me on today. This has been a lot of fun. 2 (1h 33m 45s): Well, that's it for this week's episode of Chatting with Candice. If you enjoyed the podcast and you wanna show your support, share it with your buddy with a buddy, two or three on your social media. If it's been a while, please leave us a review that helps us with the algorithms a ton. And if you wanna support the podcast, you can go to Chatting with candace.com and there are multiple ways that you can support it via buy Me a Coffee or Patreon. See you next time.