Thursday, October 28, 2010

Why CFS patients are treated with contempt


Harvard Business School professor Ann Cuddy has extensively
investigated "how people perceive and categorize others," according
to a compelling article in the November-December 2010 issue of
Harvard Magazine. The piece is well worth reading (via the above
link) and very relevant to "CFS" patients in many aspects. If that
link fails search "Harvard Magazine Cuddy."

Cuddy's work contributes especially tragic insight relevant to the
treatment of "CFS" patients:

"Cross-cultural research shows that the only group that consistently
occupies the .... 'contempt' (category) is the ...disadvantaged: the
homeless, welfare recipients, poor people," article reports from Cuddy's

She observes, "They're blamed for their misfortune. They are both
neglected and, at times, become the targets of active harm."

'Human beings' deep-seated cognitive patterns may prepare the way for
this maltreatment," the article suggests.

Cuddy explains, "There's an area of the brain, the medial prefrontal
cortex (mPFC) that is necessary for social perception."

In recent research, she reported, the brains of people being observed
did not show any reaction at all in this area (the mPFC) when they
were shown pictures of homeless people.

What this means, Cuddy explains, is that "People are not even
recognizing them as human."

Many people, in other words, when they see "CFS" patients who may
come across in their misery as less than charming, and who also seem
in their weakened states to be less than take-charge competent, are
likely to regard the "CFS" patients as less than human. At least
contemptible, if not beneath contempt.

Meanwhile other social scientists (experts on war and genocide among
them) have pointed out that the key to enabling people to maltreat
and kill other people is having a view of the "other" as less that human.

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