Changing Discriminatory Norms Using Models of Conceptually-Mediated Cognition and Cultural Worldviews


Cognitive modeling can provide immense social benefits, especially in the case of unconscious processes causing significant psychological and societal distress. One such process, discrimination against minorities, is typically grounded in unconsciously held stereotypes reflecting deep ignorance of the realities minorities face. Another, suicide terrorism, results in significant suffering for many communities. Related beliefs often arise from unquestionable values, norms and worldviews, however, making direct/conscious change appeals unworkable. Building upon cultural knowledge representation and cognitive modeling, this paper shows how change could be effected via cognitive operations on conceptual worldviews. After introducing a novel framework for modeling conceptually-mediated belief systems and techniques for guided dissonance reduction and network change, the paper applies these to anti-discrimination and terrorism reduction. Such work holds great potential for better aligning perception of minorities with the realities they face, reducing suffering, and disrupting psychological processes dependent on improper views of stigmatized minorities and other phenomena.

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