February 2015

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Individuals who have mastered the 10 Wise Ways recognize that lizard brain reactions drive the behaviors of individuals who attack others anonymously with hateful, bigoted, racist, and misogynist tweets and Internet posts. When police contact individuals who send these types of messages, they (and their parents, if the perpetrators are underage) are shocked. They see themselves as good citizens, and wonder why the police are involved. They discount the seriousness of their hateful messages by asking, “how could anyone believe or be affected by what is said on the Internet?” Many others who are not confronted would also say there is “nothing wrong” with what they are doing and that their behavior is “harmless.”

These types of vicious attacks are not new, but the Internet’s ability to allow someone to be anonymous or to distance themselves from their victims has facilitated the ease and frequency of these types of attacks. The results are disturbing, not only for the victims of the attacks, but also because the use of social media somehow allows perpetrators to justify their actions or to dismiss them as harmless. This denial demonstrates a lack of empathy, a higher-level thinking skill that encompasses a knowledge of and an understanding of all BrainWise’s 10 Wise Ways.

BrainWise teaches empathy throughout the program, starting with Wise Way #3: Recognize Red Flag warnings, which include being sensitive to the body language and facial emotions of others. Wise Way #4, Exit the Emotions Elevators, addresses how to react to the emotions these signals elicit. Wise Way #7, Consider the Consequences of your choices, teaches the importance of considering the Consequences Affecting Others (CAO), and Wise Way #10 teaches that to Communicate Effectively, you must take other people’s Point of View (POV) and recognize differences. These lessons must be practiced in conjunction with all the Wise Ways in order for an individual to make good choices and decisions.

The following articles report on the problem of the Gyges Effect (anonymous deviant behaviors) the epidemic of facelessness, and the growing alienation of children and weakening of their social skills:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/opinion/sunday/the-epidemic-of-facelessness.html?_r=0

http://www.wsj.com/articles/how-to-find-a-best-friend-1424213995?mod=djem10point.

The BrainWise Program provides the skills to decrease and help prevent these types of behaviors.