Social Categorization, a mechanism that all humans have, is a built in file cabinet deep within the social cognitive process of the brain. Social categorization allows humans the ability to understand relationships and make sense of other people and the world we live in. This social cognitive mechanism allows our brains to classify people into groups (PSUWC, Lesson 6). This natural process helps our brains to identify what is safe and what is a threat to our survival. What is survival? The Oxford Dictionary defines survival as “the continued existence of organisms, which are best adapted to their environment, with the extinction of others…”(Survival. n.d.). It is also defined in the Oxford dictionary as, “the state or fact of continuing to live or exist, typically in spite of an accident, ordeal, or difficult circumstances.”(Survival. n.d.). For this purpose, I am going to incorporate Darwins’ Theory of Evolution as defined as, is the process by which organisms change over time as a result of changes in heritable physical or behavioral traits. Changes that allow an organism to better adapt to its environment will help it survive and have more offspring.”(Than. 2018) As you can see the Oxford definition of “Survival” and Darwin’s “Theory of Evolution” go hand in hand and are very similar. It is safe to state that in order to survive; One’s brain must adapt social cognitive mechanisms, by processing the every change world in to processes to survive. This social cognitive categorization not only affects people physically, but also cognitive processes. By experiences, people are subjected to help define their social identity and social dominance to survive. Social Identity Theory incorporates both personal identity and social identity. Personal identity can be a combination of objective biosocial personal markers and subjective personal experiences (PSUWC. Lesson 6.). Social identity comes from self-concept. What defines self-concept? Well self-concept come from self-categorization based on the knowledge, acceptance, connection and commitment to a group (PSUWC, Lesson 6). Humans have built a file cabinet that defines who they are, which can influence survival. If a person has high self-concept and feel apart of a group then the possibility of mental illness also lowers. Leaving less deaths to things such as suicide. I hope your still following me, I know I am touch on these topics, but it all relevant. For example, in Today’s society it is acceptable to have what we classify as appropriate groups and not appropriate groups. Everyone’s perception of this differs in certain ways. Children is the easiest way to see this. If you look a one class, you have students that are skinny, short, pudgy, tall, athletic, smarter than others…ect. These are all categories, that are socially acceptable.
One day you are eating lunch with your child and another child from the classroom has an outburst. The staff try to console them, in your mind you are trying to make sense of why this child all of a sudden had an outburst. Some may think they are not disciplined, that they must have problems at home, that they have anger issues ect… This is how our brains are processing the unexpected action of another child. Then your child mentions that this child is different and it happens all the time, so now your brain, put this child into a special needs category and your concerned for the safety of children. This example is pretty short and sweet. However it does happen. That child is what is categorized as autistic. The outburst was from a heighten sensory issue due to the noise of the lunchroom. This child will most likely not eat for the rest of the day, much less function a productive scale. You have no knowledge or experience with autistic children, you may advise your child to stay away from this child for fear of being different or safety of your child. What this does is start a vicious process to exclude this child for acting typical to their needs. If you have a headache, you go to a quiet space. Sensory processing issues are heighten typical issues that the brain can not process. The end of this situation is that Social categorization happened and started the process of seclusion, because their reaction is not what society deems typical. However, what is not well known that in the past ten years people identified with autism has increased 119% (Autism Society. 2015.). Darwin’s theory states evolution is the process by which organisms change over time as a result of changes in heritable physical or behavioral traits. Changes that allow an organism to better adapt to its environment will help it survive and have more offspring.”(Than.2018) This rise in people being identified with autism could be a natural change in evolution. Based on the Oxford Dictionary is child survives, based on the state or fact of continuing to live or exist, typically in spite of an accident, ordeal, or difficult circumstances.”(Survival. n.d.) However, because this child is categorized by society and is excluded from social groups, they suffer from lack of self-concept. They are seen as the less dominate within their peer groups. What society doesn’t know about these children is they are the pros at categorizing information, they can synthesis greater concepts beyond our understanding. They are just missing their voice, their self-concept. Unfortunately, in Today’s society we have adults that are excluded based on “disability”. A Categorization for society to make sense of the world. However, our dated evolution has everything in our lives categorized, to the extent of seclusion that is influencing survival.
Autism Society.Facts and Statistics. (2015, August 26). Retrieved April 02, 2018, from http://www.autism-society.org/what-is/facts-and-statistics/
PSU World Campus. (2018). PSYCH 424:Social Psychology. Lesson 6: Intergroup Relations/Diversity. https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1924488/assignments/9628601?module_item_id=23682597
Survival | Definition of survival in English by Oxford Dictionaries. (n.d.). Retrieved April 11, 2018, from https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/survival
Than, K. (2018, February 26). What is Darwin’s Theory of Evolution? Retrieved April 11, 2018, from https://www.livescience.com/474-controversy-evolution-works.html