To encourage people to associate with us, we want to seem principled, with a stable permanent nature. We want this nature to seem attractive and to fit with our community’s social norms, we want it to be associated with high status, and we want it to fit our personal situation and preferences. However, community norms and status rankings often change, and we often participate in overlapping communities with different norms. So we need to be able to change our nature and norms, to adapt to changing conditions. Yet we also want such changes to feel authentic, and not consciously or overtly done just to accommodate neighbors. How can we accomplish all these goals at once?
I agree with the point of this think-tank essay for the most part
Yes of course that better studies would look at longer timescale effects. I report on the studies I see.
We need to focus on accepting all people. We need to appreciate different cultures too. Sociology was a great glass to understand this. The other factor is we need to focus on telling the truth more in our culture.
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If your goal is to say that listening to things can cause permanent changes, doing a test right after exposure won't work. Even if we accept that at that moment, changes had occurred, the default has to be that this is a temporary effect. We've seen a huge array of temporary reaction/personality changes that you can make. Changing how clean the room is changes your personality now; next week, that effect is almost entirely gone. So I don't see how this is strong evidence.
I read a history of television once (the title of which I can't recall, unfortunately), which made clear that much of the purpose of television in roughly 1965-1980 was to socially validate television executives trading in their first wives for younger (and often shiksa) second wives.
You are missing the point that they had controls where no personality changes were seen.
Impressiveness is always and everywhere an important component of prestige, which is one of the two main kinds of status (the other being power). It isn't the only factor, but it is the main factor.
There are some other examples of personality changes when people read stories. The general case seems to be that people adopt the moral stance of the people they read in fiction.
One experiment had people read a bio of either Superman or the Joker. The people who read the Joker's bio became more aggressive.
I haven't read the studies, but it seem like a bit of a goofy methodology. If you give somebody a personality test, then having them do something, then give them the exact same test again, you are asking for demand characteristics. Participants are aware that they are supposed to answer differently based on the manipulation performed, and may change their answers to please the experimenter. I see that this methodology was used across conditions, so it's probably not a complete explanation for the effects, but still, it's a weird way of going about things.
I don't think the idea that you can change a person's response to a personality questionairre by changing their emotions is new or interesting. Perhaps the artistic pieces changed participants' emotions more than the unartistic pieces? Maybe you could find effects by sneaking up on a participant and scaring them, then having them fill out a personality questionairre. These studies don't seem obviously connected to status nor "permanent" personality change. Like lots of effects found in psychology labs, it's not clear why you would expect these to be lasting.
And of course you should be skeptical of small effects found in cutesy psychology studies. Apparently the effects were small but statistically significant, which often means "not really there."
So is artistry the pinnacle of status in writing or just some default to fall back on when the societal status of the author is unknown to the reader? Or is it not so much artistry we look for but certain forms of artistry that we think correlate to the style of art made by authors with high societal status?
When people evaluate the "artistic quality" of writing or music, they are evaluating how impressive it is, and thus how impressive was the artist.
I'm confused. Your stated thesis is "high status people change peoples' personalities", but all your evidence supports the thesis "art changes peoples' personalities", which doesn't seem like the same thesis.
By "persuade" I just mean to cause to change one's opinion. I don't mean to specify the kind of cause. I've changed the word "persuade" to "move" to clarify.
One simple strategy is to have a stable personality, but to sometimes let impressive high status people persuade us to change that personality.
One would need to look at how these terms are used, but one study claims that it isn't a process of persuasion.
"and that the changes occur in readers’ own ways, being based not on persuasion but on indirect communication." ( http://psycnet.apa.org/psyc... )
The study isn't accessible without subscription, but it seems that the change wasn't suggested by the readings, which merely encouraged a general reassessment of oneself. It caused fluctuation rather than any specific change. This is unlike an ordinary identification with a high-status object.