How the physical appearance of a being affects its treatment

By Emma Dickson.

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How the physical appearance of a being affects its treatment by Mind Map: How the physical appearance of a being affects its treatment

1. PART 1

1.1. What is your understanding of the topic?

1.1.1. All beings are different. It is impossible to find two exactly identical humans, even if they are identical twins, just like how a trained eye would be able to spot the different between two Tasmanian devils. However, this has its downsides. Humans have been proven to react more positively to beings that are cute or aesthetically pleasing due to the brain releasing dopamine, a chemical that makes us intensely happy, at the sight. This has resulted in humans with more ‘conventionally attractive’ features to be the receptors of more favourable treatment. The same things has been found with animals, with commercialised, cute animals such as pandas receiving more concern and funds to protect and preserve them than the great white shark, an endangered species.

2. PART 2

2.1. Why is this important to investigate from a TOK perspective?

2.1.1. The extent that physical appearance affects its treatment is vital to explore from a Tok perspective as TOK allows the reader to become aware of how this topic affects them; they might find themselves realising that they subconsciously favour more conventionally attractive people and beings, and work to revoke that bias.

2.1.2. It allows the reader to consider the article from different perspectives, and how people who do not fall into the ‘conventionally attractive’ category might feel or be treated in certain situations as opposed to a person considered ‘extremely attractive’.

2.1.3. The TOK perspective also assists in analysing the article that the information is obtained from, and allows the reader to uncover biases. While this article is written by a psychology professor and is therefore more factually correct than another might be, there is still evidence of bias in that the writer needs their statement to be correct in order for the article to have meaning. Therefore, the works cited are only the works that prove the statement; no articles analysing the truth of it is included, only studies supporting the claim.

3. PART 9

3.1. Human sciences & social studies

3.1.1. This article relates to the reason behind humans’ positive reaction to specific appearances and how this then impacts the observed being in a social, economic, etc. setting.

3.2. Morals/ethics

3.2.1. this article relates to whether or not it is ethic to continue to treat being the same as they were unconsciously treated despite now being aware of the bias.

4. PART 7

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4.1.1. What different perspectives can you find for your ideas or arguments? Scientific (psychological and biological) perspective scientific and humanity perspectives in this article can be seen in how it draws on psychological studies and various facets of human behaviour. Social perspective Social perspective can be seen in how the physical appearance of beings alters their treatment by other members of society. Moral perspective Moral perspective can be observed in the questioning of whether or not this behaviour is moral.

5. PART 6

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5.2. What potential knowledge question can you construct to provide a TOK focus to your investigation?

5.2.1. To what extent does the physical appearance of a being affect its treatment?

5.2.2. Is it morally justifiable to be aware of physical appearance as a personal bias and not work to change it?

5.2.3. "In all our perceptions, from vision to hearing, to the pictures we build of people’s character, our unconscious mind starts from whatever objective data is available to us – usually spotty – and helps to shape and construct the more complete picture we consciously perceive."

6. PART 3

6.1. This topic is beneficial to investigate from a TOK perspective as it is an issue that is still prominent and relevant in today’s society.

6.1.1. Animals that are considered less ‘cute’ or aesthetically pleasing than other animals are the ones where the conservation efforts are most focused. A prime example of this is both the bluefin tuna and the sumatran tiger being endangered; however, despite this, the one people are most likely to be aware of and sad over is the tiger. This is due to it being more pleasing to the eye than fish, therefore affecting its treatment by humans and, consequently, resulting in less publicising of its plight and less concern by the public. Likewise, a dog in a shelter with three legs is less likely to be adopted than a dog with four legs. This topic forces people to reconsider their own personal biases surrounding animals, and with this awareness hopefully with change their treatment.

6.1.2. Humans that are considered ‘conventionally attractive’ are consistently favoured more in society. Subconsciously, the human mind favours certain features due to the increased dopamine levels they produce. This is evident in several aspects of day-to-day life, with an ‘attractive’ person able to get away with more than an ‘unattractive’ person would. TOK allows the reader to explore the morality of this, whether or not it is fair, and what can be done about it, as well as discuss the different scenarios where it could outright bias someone, something that might not be explored in another subject.

7. PART 5

7.1. What knowledge claims can you identify? Knowledge claims are statements or ideas that you believe to be true and want to establish the validity of.

7.1.1. "The idea that appearance might be so influential is remarkable."

7.1.2. "What is really eye-opening is the idea similar hidden influences may exert a similar significant effect on all the other people choices we make in every day life."

8. PART 4

8.1. What will I do with this information?

8.1.1. This information has made me to reflect on the way in which I interact with the people around me, and has forced me to reconsider any personal unconscious biases I might have. Additionally, it has also prompted me to engage in my own personal research to further broaden my understanding of the topic. With the information gained from the article, I was also able to evaluate it, determining whether or not it was reliable, informative and useful, which will improve my evaluative skills in the long term.

8.2. What is the nature of the information from your example?

8.2.1. The nature of the information of my example is an article written by a person who studies psychology, and contains many examples of studies in it that explain and educate the reader on how and why attractiveness influences the interactions between people, and consequently their treatment. The article also forces the reader to evaluate their own personal biases and the way they treat others.

8.3. How do I know if the information is reliable?

8.3.1. The information gained in the article is reliable, as it comes from a site that is known to be accurate and trustworthy despite the lack of a .org or .gov on the end.

8.3.2. The article cites several psychology studies done to prove the hypothesis that it has about attractiveness influencing people’s behaviour. The fact that multiple sources can prove its validity makes it reliable. Further research is able to prove that all claims stated in the article are accurate.

9. PART 5

9.1. What are the main ideas in this example?

9.1.1. The main ideas in this article are: The way that a person presents themselves evokes different reactions in people. These reactions can affect real-life situations, for example: getting a job. A person's facial features are unconsciously believed to be better suited to specific things, and evoke different emotions. These can lead to biased situations.

9.2. How does this relate to you as a knower?

9.2.1. As a knower, I support and encourage the questioning of personal biases and the way they affect others, meaning that I encourage the message this article brings up of ‘how do we unconsciously treat others based on looks?’. I agree with the argument that the writer creates: that


11. The idea that appearance might be so influential is remarkable