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The article refers to collective memory as a type of memory shared by a group of people. As such, it is especially important for the social identity of members of a specific group. Everyone in human society belongs to one of several groups depending on social, political, and economic factors.
As defined, collective memory influences how people remember specific things. As a result, the group's perspective will have a significant impact on collective memory. Collective memory, in my opinion, has a huge impact on an individual, particularly in terms of identity. The perspective that influences a group to interpret a historical event in a certain way resonates on the individual level. It will influence how an individual views events of a similar nature. In the long run, the result is the creation of a consistent system of interpreting events on the individual level. The example given in the paper about collective memory of younger individuals about the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II resonates with me. I hold the view that the bombings caused massive suffering for innocent individuals as do many of my peers. This collective memory has contributed to the growth of pacifism among younger individual. This perspective has contributed to the development of an aversion to violence on a personal level.
The distinction between history and collective remembering is spelled out in the article. History is described as an accurate portrayal of the past driven by objectivity with ambiguities and counterarguments being addressed sufficiently. This is in contrast to collective remembering which is characteristically subjective. In this case, recollection of the past is based on a specific point of view which has an effect of creating a shared identity in the present day. Collective remembering, therefore, seeks to selectively pick aspects of an event that are in agreement with a certain point of view. The result is the lack of consideration of a large proportion of aspects of a particular event. Collective remembering influences a lot of what the general population thinks about past events. On the other hand, history takes an academic approach towards analyzing past events. The consideration of different points of view ensures that the information provided by a text is objective and as accurate as humanly possible. An example of this distinction is evident when analyzing a historical event such as the colonization of Africa. In this case, history would explore the positive impact of the event on the civilization of human beings in addition to the destructive effects such as the demolition of existing social structures and exploitation. This is illustrative of the holistic approach that is used by history. War veterans, on the other hand, would view colonization in terms of the spread of European civilization. This skewed perspective evades the reality of the situation on the ground.
The article in question reviews the role of oxytocin with regard to its effect on an individual's adaptation to social environments. This hormone plays a key role in social salience by influencing the "neural processing of socially salient cues." The effect of oxytocin in this context is evident a variety of events that are behaviorally salient. The cues referred to by the authors relate to either social punishment or social reward. As such, there is a variety of social situations that effectively activates the salience neural network. The best example of such social situations is an encounter with morally laden information. The influence of components of the salience neural network influence the ability to make moral judgments in this case. The degree to which such components are involved in the process is however dependent on contextual factors. An example of a morally laden situation is coming across a wallet on a footpath. There is a myriad of moral implications associated with the many actions that one would take in this case. The moral vs. immoral conditions that ensue would activate the salient neural network. The influence of the neural network would then control interactions that help an individual make the ultimate decision regarding the situation at hand.
The presence of a "social brain" confirms the social nature of human beings. Social cognition is defined as the brain's processing of activities by other people. This is one of the phenomena explored in the paper and said to have a significant role in the "social." Social functioning, on the other hand, refers to the ability of one to partake in social interactions over time. There is a variety of areas that are involved in social cognition and functioning. First is the interaction between regions of the brain that serve social processes. Regions such as the medial prefrontal cortex and the temporal lobe work together to ensure optimum social functioning. Any form of damage on any of the regions significantly affects the ability to interact with others. Environmental stressors are also influential in social cognition and functioning. As described in the reviewed article, stressors have a significant impact on an individual's social functioning thus staking a claim as one of the areas in question. The size and complexity of one's social networks is also an important area of consideration when discussing social cognition and functioning. This, in addition to the volume of brains structures such as the amygdala.
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