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PSYCH 232 Lectures/Textbook Notes.docx

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University of Waterloo
Chris Burris

Psych 232Psychology of Evil The Problem of Evil Preface Chapter 1The Question of Evil and the Answers IntroMost people who do evil dont view their actions as evil o Evil is in the eye of the beholdereye of the victimNo victim no evilVictims ask why evil happensEvil challenges peoples fundamental beliefs A Brush with EvilTo understand evil we must realize we ourselves are capable of these actions2 core aspects of evilo 1 Infliction of harm by one person on another eg losing chipsintentional violence o 2 Chaos eg violation of friendly orderly comprehensible world What is EvilMost familiar form of human evil is violenceLoss of selfcontrol resulting from emotional distress an important factor of evil Once More Without Feeling2 aspects of evil action o 1 Action is ordinary and unremarkable o 2 Egotismexcessive selfimportanceusually causes evil bc people retaliate against those who insult criticize or humiliate them First killing is psychologically difficult but people get used to it and get less and less reactionMay act as a game to desensitize themselveseasier to carry out job Impulse and CommitmentRegardless of root cause of violence the immediate cause is the breakdown of selfcontrolOur violent impulses held back by our forcesNaturenurture of violence and aggression True Crime and FalseMedia focuses on unusual crimes rather than common crimesMyth of pure evil wicked people inflicting senseless harm on innocent people o Leads to distorting effect The Magnitude of EvilMagnitude gapdiscrepancy between importance of act to perpetrator and victim o difference in how perpetrator and victim see it o Perpetrators usually insensitive to actA Pair of Hate CrimesSadismreceiving pleasure from hurting othersHate crime comes from revengeDeeper level of reason behind crimesEgotismthinking well of yourselfViolence stems from highself esteem not lowself esteemunsatisfied egotism o Or when a favourable view of themselves is threatened A Young Womans FaithViolence a common but ineffective meansLecture Jan 16west Memphis 3 wm3org o next to no physical evidence against the convictedwhat comes to mind when you think of evil o 1 Physical victimization harm o 2 Psychological victimization harm o 3 Emotion negative emotion construal o 4 Descriptionevaluation eg bad necessary human nature construal o 5 Religious symbols associate evil with faith symbols construal o 6 Secular symbols worldlynonreligious symbols construalPeople associate evil with the infliction of harmSerial killers are a character Dimensions of Evil 1 Evil is subjectivenot all will agree if it is evil2 Evil is interpretiveevil is not something inherent built in to a given target but an interpretation we give to something3 Evil is a labellabelling is a fundamental perceptual process not aware we doing iteg alexithymiao Label drives your reaction to something not the action or object itself o Labelling has consequences o Characteristics of the evil label
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