Our fast paced media is making us indifferent to human suffering
Could today’s fast-paced media eventually make us indifferent to human suffering? A new report suggests this is already happening.
Researchers from the University of Southern California say that our minds need time to reflect on news and events. But that modern media encourages us to read about news and events and move on quickly before we have fully processed a story of anguish and suffering.
As slower paced activities such as reading books and meeting friends, are taken over by fast news snippets on Twitter and fast-moving social networking sites such as facebook, the problem could become widespread, researchers warn.
‘If things are happening too fast, you may not ever fully experience emotions about other people’s psychological states and that would have implications for your morality,’ said researcher Mary Helen Mordino-Yang, said: ‘For moral decision-making about other people’s social and psychological situations, we need to allow for adequate time and reflection.’
Using brain imaging, her study found that humans can respond in fractions of a second to signs of physical pain in others, but admiration and compassion – two of the social emotions that define humanity – take much longer.
Manuel Castells, a leading sociology expert at USC said to the Daily Telegraph: ‘In a media culture in which violence and suffering becomes an endless show, indifference to the vision of human suffering gradually sets in.’