Sunday, April 17, 2016

[rvkxatlh] Role model

Under what conditions will a person, famously a child, emulate someone else's behavior and be convinced not to think critically about their emulation?

Of course, inspired by the politics around role models, including censorship of media depicting bad role models and punishment of public figures deemed bad role models.

The typical argument is that someone will assume causality from the bad behavior to high status.  But the causality is often kind of a stretch, so requires deliberately ignoring the instinct to think critically about the "stretch".  When do people not think critically?  What incentives cause not thinking critically?  Perhaps bad role models are dangerous only in environments which also have incentives to destroy critical thinking, for example, parents requiring of their children not to think but obey.  Placing the resulting blame for the emulation on the role model seems wrong in that case.

Create fiction subverting the trope: a character surrounded by seemingly terrible role models but chooses not to emulate them.  Or, surrounded by good role models but the character turns out bad.

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