Watching the World Cup: The Tribal Psychology of Football Reply

SoccerThe dark roots of the beautiful game of soccer

Published on June 13, 2014 by Mark van Vugt, Ph.D. in Naturally Selected

While millions of people around the world are glued to their television screens to see which country will win the 2014 World Cup Football — soccer for US folks — in Brazil, as an evolutionary scientist my main interest is in the place that football occupies in the evolution of our species. How did football become so popular? Is football the new religion or a disguised form of warfare? Do football players have more sex and offspring than average? Is watching football good or bad for your physical and mental health? And, does it matter what tribal colors the football teams wear in the World Cup for predicting success?

The evolutionary origins of the beautiful game

First, let’s look briefly at the history of football. We could go back to the end of the 19th century when the physical education teachers at the public schools in England were thinking of new ways to challenge the sons of the wealthy to improve their physical fitness and team skills. But to explain the origins of football we may have to go back a bit further in human history.

According to the British zoologist Desmond Morris football carries the features of an ancient hunting ritual. I very much doubt if this analysis is correct. Who are the hunters in football and who is the prey? And why would you need a good defense? A more probable evolutionary story is that football has its origins in the tradition of tribal warfare among our ancestors in which the male band members formed coalitions to weaker or destroy local rival bands. Former Dutch football coach Rinus Michels was exactly right when he claimed that football is like war.

You might wonder then why football did not develop much earlier than in 19th century England. For this, we need to look at New Guinea. Nowhere else in the world do so many different peoples and language groups live together in one circumscribed area. Until the 20th century, these tribes were constantly fighting tribal wars against each other and the slightest incident led to a tribal conflict with many deaths on both sides. Only when the missionaries arrived on the island, and the tribes handed in their deadly weapons did the opportunity arise for peaceful intergroup interactions. Now they are even playing football in New Guinea. Yet to avoid escalation of the conflict and warfare, the referee always ensures that games end in a draw, even when it means playing on.

Football is War

What is the evidence for the claim that football is a form of ritualized warfare which evolved from the ancient tribal disputes?

First, there are the well-known historical examples of international football matches leading to an armed conflict between neighboring countries. For instance, the war between El Salvador and Honduras in 1969 began after a runaway qualifier for the World Cup in Mexico. There were 2,000 deaths in the 100-hour war which only came to an end through an intervention of the United Nations.

Feature continues here:  The Tribal Psychology of Football

Jill Bolte Taylor: My Stroke of Insight Reply

This is an incredibly moving talk from a woman who has dedicated her life to researching psychiatry and schizophrenia. One day she realized she was having a stroke — and instead of being devastated, she thought, “This is so cool! How many brain scientists have the opportunity to study their brain from the inside out?” Her talk details her experience of having a stroke, and the nirvana she found as a result.

Emotional Intelligence Predicts Job Success: Do You Have It? Reply

The best salespeople and leaders have a high EQ. Daniel Goleman, the man who coined the term, pulls apart the aspects of emotional intelligence.

By Drake Bauer, fastcompany.com

Let’s say you work at a place that’s saturated with smarts. If all of your colleagues were always the brightest person in the room growing up, then what makes you stand out? Your emotional intelligence.

Consider cosmetics giant L’Oreal, which has started to factor emotional intelligence in their hiring process for salespeople. Those who were recruited for their high EQ outsold their peers by over $90,000. On top of that, the high-EQ employees had 63% less turnover than the typically selected sales folk. As this and other studies show, emotional intelligence predicts success for people and the companies they work for.

But EQ isn’t fixed: it can change over time. As University College London Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic (sic) notes on Harvard Business Review, your level of EQ is “firm, but not rigid.” While most EQ increases happen with age, you can train yourself to have a higher EQ, by being mindful of your mindfulness, more agile with emotions, or taking the dive into coaching.

Daniel Goleman, the psychologist who coined the term emotional intelligence, recently talked to the Huffington Post about the many characteristics of emotional intelligence. Lets go over a few here, so that we can know what to train in.

1. You’re curious about new people.

Do you ask a lot of questions when you meet someone? Do you actually listen to their answers? Then you might be a highly empathic person, someone attuned to the needs and feeling of others, and you may also mark high on openness to experience–a trait correlated with creativity.

2. You’re self-aware.

To be emotionally intelligent, Goleman says, you need to have confidence. To have confidence, you need to know your strengths and weaknesses. Then you work from that framework.

3. You know how to pay attention.

As Arianna Huffington told us, you can’t make connections if you’re distracted. Additionally, the ability to remain focused–and not carried away by texts and tweets–predicts not just the ability to form strong relationships and cultivate self-knowledge, Goleman says, but also your financial success.

“Your ability to concentrate on the work you’re doing, and to put off looking at that text or playing that video game until after you’re done,” he tells the Huffington Post. “How good you are at that in childhood turns out to be a stronger predictor of your financial success in adulthood than either your IQ or the wealth of the family you grew up in.”

4. You can say no.

If you have high emotional intelligence, Goleman says, you can avoid unhealthy habits and otherwise discipline yourself–which also allows for relationship-nourishing, success-engendering non-distraction.

5. You know precisely what’s pissing you off.

Folks with a high EQ acknowledge emotions as they come rather than repressing them or misattributing their causes. You could also call this emotional agility.

6. You trust your intuition.

There are neuroscientific reasons for trusting your gut: they’re markers for what to do next. Part of having a high EQ is learning when to trust them.

Drake Baer is a contributing writer at Fast Company, where he covers work culture. He’s the co-author of Everything Connects, a book about how intrapersonal, interpersonal, and organizational psychology shape innovation, due out in February. Email him: dbaer at fastcompany.com.