Why do we judge other people?

Judging other people is part of the human nature. It is programmed so deep inside us that it comes automatically when we see somebody doing what we don’t agree with. It is so strong programmed into us that we feel strong emotions or anger when we  see somebody going against our beliefs. Most of us want to force their opinion to others and do not tolerate the opposite perspective.

The question is why is that? Why do we judge others if they have different opinion, behave differently, look differently or believe in different things than we do?

To answer that question first we need to understand a bit more deeply human behavior and how our brain works. We need to understand how knowledge is built up in our brain and how do we make decisions.

Making good decisions have been always the most important thing  in surviving. Back in the history, when we lived in caves a good decision made the difference between life and death. In the modern world we  face even more decisions every day. But it is not easy and we have to consider many factors, and have to process a big amount of data. In most of the cases all those information needed to make a good decision is not available so we have to use the information what we already have in our head.

On the other hand the information what we already have must be correct and must reflect the real world. That’s why human brain is constantly comparing the stored information with the data coming from the outside world and make the necessary update or correction. The more time something was confirmed to be true by the events what we see the more strong that connection becomes in our brain.  If something changes very often, our brain will try to find out the logic behind the change. Once the logic is found the brain will start to look after confirmations that the solution is correct.

But if we see or hear something every day our brain will not question if it is correct or not. It will just make that information (or we can call it: connection) stronger and stronger.

Now, let’s make a simple example:

Peter was told from his childhood that eating fish is very healthy and good for him. He also read many articles about it, and his friends are all big fish eaters. Peter eats fish almost every day, and forces his children to do so, because it’s healthy. 

One day John, a scientist, discovers that ocean fish contains mercury, which is very dangerous for health, and recommends everybody do not eat wish.

Hearing John talking about how bad  fish consumption is for health, Peter becomes very angry  and says: “John is a stupid man who knows nothing and never ever listen to him”. 

Why did Peter become angry, and why did he judged John as a stupid man? Because the information John said contradicted a very strong connection in his brain: that fish is healthy. The possibility that most of his decisions in his life about nutrition were wrong, scared him so much that he became angry.   The connection in his brain about it is so strong that he cannot accept John’s discovery. As a solution he just judged John a stupid man, and will not give credit to his words.

 

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Why do we judge other people? Life balance articles