Psychological Anthropology: Types of Mentality and Their Impacts

The Introduction: Mentality and Mindset

Mindset Opposite Positivity Negativity Thinking Concept. this includes attitude, performance, results, behavior, action, and solution.
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An attitude/mentality is the approach humans take in their reasoning and capacity to obtain knowledge, which shapes humans and their culture. Accordingly, social values are based on the mindset of the community. Thus, values are defined as “basic and fundamental beliefs that guide or motivate attitudes or actions.” Moreover, this article will focus on growth, followers, and short-term mindsets.

Thus, a positive attitude will attract gratifying emotions and results. This is defined as “Positive thinking, or an optimistic attitude, is the practice of focusing on the good in any given situation”. On the other hand, a negative attitude will keep you in a downward spiral. This is defined as “Negative thinking is a thought process where people tend to find the worst in everything, or reduce their expectations by considering the worst possible scenarios”. 

The Growth Mindset 

Representing an essential part of a growth mindset. This is learning from failure to achieve success.
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First, a human has a constant chance of improvement with a growth mentality. For example, “Individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others) have a growth mindset“. This allows people to solve problems swiftly without ordinary mental barriers. In addition, people with this mindset are more willing to listen to distant viewpoints. Accordingly, this mentality believes in learning from past errors to better the future. Thus, people with a growth attitude have confidence through the value in the individual to be able to overcome any hardship.

For instance, in the case of an emergency, people with growing attitudes attempt to gain awareness concerning an issue as much as possible. Accordingly, a growth mindset implies that anyone can reach the highest achievement if they put their minds to it. As a result, a person with a growth mindset strives to achieve as much knowledge about a topic. However, there is no link between having a growth mindset and having access to achieve more success in life.

Furthermore, only the individual benefits the most through a growth mindset. This is because humans tend to only care about their own growth. Thus, people tend to take more significant risks. This means that there is more chance of failure. Besides, the growth mentality relies on freedom of expression, mainly speech. As a result of the value that criticism can help an individual grow to become a better socially responsible human.

The Impact on the Culture of Single Identity

However, this freedom of expression, when kept unlimited, pulls people back into chaos. For example, instead of growing to accept people of different races, beliefs, and genders, people start believing that their ethnicity is the only race that is capable of leading growth.  This is especially in societies that promote a growth mindset. This can be seen primarily in liberal democracies that encourage capitalism. This is because capitalism thrives on the ideology that there is always something higher to achieve. Therefore, a growth mindset creates an extremely productive workforce culture.

Consequently, people within a liberal democracy tend not to get any government assistance. First, this is because the mentality remains that the individual is at fault if they are suffering. For instance, this mindset ignores that some people in society have access to more advantageous means to allow them to grow. Second, this is because this type of eurocentric view believes that people need to have their own willpower to improve themselves. For example, this mindset ignores that there are various laws, either soft or hard, which deny certain segments of the population from efficient resources for growth. Therefore,  a growth mindset tends to treat all people in the same way. This is an issue because humans of different cultural backgrounds have different needs.

Thus, a growth attitude in its current form can create even deeper divisions within society. For example, the continuously widening income gap in the United States. In addition, in a growth attribute cultural environment, systematically disadvantaged individuals are more likely to become negative. Therefore, the growth attitude is unreliable. My suggestion is that there should be a mix of fixed and growth mindsets to fit cultural relativism.

The Follower Mindset 

A negative example of a mob mentality. This is the riot of January 6, 2021.
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Second, herd or mob mentality are some of the other ways to describe the follower mindset. This is where the human feels safe because another entity is leading the group’s lives. Also, people with a follower mentality are more flexible and adaptable. Accordingly, people that follow the herd mindset are less individualistic. This is primarily present in eastern nations. For example, in China and the United Arab Emirates, we saw steady control of the initial variation of COVID-19. This can be attributed to the fact that people abided by strict regulations to combat the pandemic. This is an example of how the mob mentality worked in favor of society. First, this ensured that people within a society worked actively to protect each other against the virus. Second, this allows nations to create efficient social welfare and ensure that government regulations even provide health care services.

However, there is a general neglect of individuals with a follower attitude as they can have no real personality. As a result, these people can not achieve their own most significant goals and desires. In addition, people that are followers are burdened by the responsibility for actions and words of others within their mob. Accordingly, mobs are blindly following their leaders. This can be consequential for culture if a leader has ill intentions. For example, people don’t know much about various individual Nazi German lives and thoughts. All people remember from history is the actions and thoughts of their leader, Adolf Hitler. As a result, individual Germans at the time forcibly followed their unethical government. Even so, not all Germans at the time agreed with the Nazi ideology of what the people actually thought behind closed doors.

The Impact on the Different Types of Culture

Moreover, it is present within a culture of mob mentality even if there is class, neighborhood, or country distinction. For instance, people with a shared culture collaborate to create a single identity. To illustrate, the follower mindset is a factor that creates a nation with a shared culture and identity. Additionally, people with a herd attitude agree with less freedom and rights for more collective growth. For example, in a state of emergency like the COVID-19 pandemic, people followed their leaders blindly. Therefore, the presence of a follower mindset in this situation also shows that people act more like a herd when in a collective society.  As a result of a follower mentality, fewer people die in countries with efficient health care than in the United States, with a broken health care system causing unnecessary deaths.

Nevertheless, mob mentality can be an obstruction to culture, for example, in protests that turn into riots. The infamous example from 2021 is the capital riot of January 6 in the United States of America. The people that vandalized the capitol were blindly acting upon the words of Donald Trump. To illustrate, Donald Trump, as a leader, held numerous rallies all around the United States. The mobs that attended these rallies took his words as sacred without understanding their consequences. Thus, on January 6, the mob committed numerous crimes as they attempted to overthrow the democratic government in the name of the Republican Party and specifically Donald Trump. Furthermore, these people don’t understand the reality behind what they are claiming to be true. Thus, they are unwillingly contradicting themselves.

The Short-Term Mindset

Two of the greatest nuclear disasters are caused by short-term mentality. This shows nuclearr power is not worth it.
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Third, the short-term mentality is when a person’s decision-making is based on the immediate result, also called the short-term horizon. In addition, individuals can achieve quick gratification and their short-term goals. Nonetheless, there isn’t much benefit when it comes to short-term attitudes.

On the other hand, humans tend to neglect planning for future adversities. Accordingly, people with a short-term mindset tend to face a downward spiral in the future. This is because the future constantly disappoints them, as they are not ready for it. For example, the capitalistic economic cycle is a consequence of having a short-term mentality. To illustrate, it is accepted that after a boom, there is always a bust. However, if people think of the short term, we can avoid a recession or even depression after economic growth. Additionally, people with a short-term mentality face even more detrimental emergencies.

Consequently, this example shows American banks taking advantage of the human instinct of the short-term horizon.  This is an example of how the financial crisis of 2008 was caused essentially by the way banks were loaning ordinary citizens for housing, which increased until the housing bubble burst. Accordingly, the factors that led to the speculative bubbles are that loans were being targeted by people that could never have been able to pay them back. Thus, people in the United States who were living from paycheck to paycheck could obtain houses with high values. Consequently, when the financial crisis hit, people lost their homes, while banks could stay afloat for the most part due to government bailouts.

The Impact on the Culture of the Environment  

An instance of a short-term attitude that is neglecting future consequences is environmental racism. Accordingly, environmental racism is systematic racism, where the government allows for environmental threats to be allocated to minority groups’ communities. Thus, white people have the privilege to use their voices to ensure that hazardous waste is not dumped in their communities. This occurs as federal regulations only think of the short-term goals to make the dominant race’s mindset happy. However, non-white races don’t have the power to use their voice to say, not in my backyard. Thus, in the long run, minority groups and their culture are disadvantaged.

This is also true when it comes to nuclear power and its radioactive waste. For example, the United States regulation on nuclear waste disposal is allocated near or even on Native American land.  This occurs to native Americans due to their extremely high unemployment rate and the fact that they usually live in rural areas far from cities. Consequently, the federal government is located in the busy city of Washington DC, which is very far from the quiet deserts where native Americans live. Therefore, Native Americans don’t have the fiscal power to lobby nor the equal voice which privileged white Americans have to ensure that the federal government doesn’t allow radioactive nuclear material in their backyard.

Thus, in the short term, the American federal government desired nuclear power for energy and weapons as it is efficient and abundant. However, in the long term, nuclear material is apocalyptic for people and the planet. This is problematic as the consequences of exposure to high levels of radioactivity from nuclear waste cause health defects and disease for generations. Also, the land has become unusable for decades, leading to the displacement of populations.

The Impact on the Culture of Emergency  

Moreover, individuals have a biased attachment to the current meaning of their cultural ideals and their perceived rights. As a result, people with a short-term mentality believe their current ideology is the objective truth and it will live forever. Nonetheless, the reality is that change is the only constant truth. Thus, there is no never-dying universal mindset or ideology.

For instance, American society is highly fearful of anything that might be slightly socialist and communist, to the extent that the population in the United States is denied the fundamental human rights to sufficient health care. Additionally, American culture always ensures there are no limitations to their freedom from coercion. Regardless of the future, government regulation is good for the people. For example, the United States federal government struggled to combat the COVID-19 pandemic because some American citizens protested government regulations to protect people from a deadly virus. These mainly white, republican, and conservative groups claim that regulations to combat a medical emergency are government coercion. This is something that shows how consequential a short-term attitude can be and does not ensure future success.

The Conclusion: Significance In Psychological Anthropology

This shows the different factors of an individual's mindset. In addition, how different mindsets interact.
Credit: spa.americananthro.org

Psychological Anthropology is defined as “the study of psychological topics using anthropological concepts and methods. Among the areas of interest are personal identity, selfhood, subjectivity, memory, consciousness, emotion, motivation, cognition, madness, and mental health”.  Accordingly, mindsets are closely linked to topics covered by the meaning of this type of anthropology. This is because the individual’s thought process has a direct impact on the shape that their culture takes. 

Nevertheless, emotions are the foundation for the majority of attitudes. For example, emotions that are found as mentalities include fear, envy, greed, gratitude, and anger. Therefore, these types of attitudes have more impact on an individual’s daily livelihood. Furthermore, other kinds of mentalities include social, business, productive, dreamer, confident, and creative. Therefore, these types of mentalities have more of a role in shaping the culture of a community as well as shaping the values of the individual. However, some of these attitudes, like business, productivity, and confidence, fall into the growth mentality. 

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