Thursday, May 01, 2008


Hierarchy IX


New evidence for the idea of hierarchy in human society and evidence for epigenetic heredity of such information

This morning I have got some interesting Google Alerts, one of them can be seen as extremely powerful evidence for hierarchy in the human society. Here is the excerpt and the link to the full text:

Last year, the neuroeconomics lab at Bonn released the results of a study of reward that involved scanning the brains of participants. What they found was not just that brains responded well to a reward. They found that brains responded even stronger to a reward that was better than the reward given to others. The experiment involved pairs of male volunteers competing for prizes on the same task. The BBC article about the research explains it well.

This shows that the comparison of perceived value on the reward one got himself with the award somebody else got is more powerful than the simple act of being awarded. This shows that we humans take award as “status symbol”. As we are awarded by higher authority, and who gets more is more valued by this higher authority, that means he is on a higher stair of hierarchy than the other one. And this matters to us, as it matters to all animals. Hierarchy is the base of a group of animals regardless how we name it.

The basic system of hierarchy works downwards not upwards. Nobody wants to be the last one. There are other studies about successful sportsmen, like McEnroe, who – as many others – confirmed that losing a game is far more intense feeling than winning a game. The rule has developed from the fact that predators usually catch the week ones from one group of animals that means young and disabled animals, ill, injured etc.

The signal for this handicap is that the animal is the last one in the group. And we have completely inherited this trait. We are animals, and we have inherited some “social” traits that were passed over to us already several million years ago.

This in turn is strong evidence for the idea that all important information is passed over in some kind of a code, and this code might be epigenome. The mankind is just at the very beginning of understanding at least something about the way how information is stored in DNA, aside of genes.

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