Influence Matrix

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Gregg Henriques:

"The Influence Matrix says that humans have an intuitive mental architecture that (pre-verbally) guides their perceptual-motivational-emotional ways of being the world in relation to others.

Specifically, we humans automatically and intuitively map our place in the “social influence matrix.” That is, we are constantly tracking self-in-relation-to-other, and use that to act accordingly."



Gregg Henriques:

"The Influence Matrix clearly maps the core representations of the central features of "agency" and "communion."

It is essential that we recognize that this human mental architecture existed long before the social construction of reality (which is perhaps only 50,000 to 150,000 years old), and is certainly much older than ideas about what is socially justifiable for how men and women should act in the 21st century.

The Matrix goes back to a time when we were primates rather than persons; thus we are talking about tens of millions of years. The Influence Matrix analysis directly accounts for the counterintuitive finding from the Eagly article and provides a frame that explains why gender stereotypes are so "robust" (to use their word).

To begin with, the Matrix explains in a direct and straightforward way why there are “self-over-other” and “other-over-self” tendencies and archetypes in the first place. Notice, this says nothing about males/masculinity or females/femininity per se. It simply says something about the mental architecture needed to navigate the social world. However, we can then use basic logic to understand why, on aggregate, males/men tend toward the former and females/women the latter.

For example, long before we were humans, females were giving birth and taking care of their young. Is it any surprise at all that their architecture would be more relationally oriented? My point is that we can analyze the general relational features of being a male and female human primate and see that males tend to lean relatively more toward self-over-other, whereas females tend to lean toward other-over-self.

This analysis means that Eagly et al have the explanatory sequence backward. Rather than social roles driving the perception of difference, it is clear from this analysis that the mental architecture is prior, and is the primary driver of the personality differences and people's perception of them.

As such, the Matrix helps explain other "counterintuitive" findings about gender role/job preferences, like the Nordic gender-equity paradox, which is the finding that greater gender equity in social roles and expectations is associated with greater (not lesser) divergence in things like employment preferences."


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