Even a Short Visit to a Rough Neighborhood Can Alter the Psyche

Pic: Millicent_Bystander (CC)

Pic: Millicent_Bystander (CC)

A new peer reviewed study suggests that visiting a rough neighborhood for even a short while can leave the visitor feeling anxious and less trusting:

Via LiveScience:

Students who visited a poor, crime-ridden neighborhood only briefly exhibited less trust and more paranoia than students bussed temporarily to a well-off community, according to new research published today (Jan. 14) in the open-access journal PeerJ.

“What really surprised us is that the visitors, they looked [psychologically] just like the people in the place they visited,” said study researcher Daniel Nettle, a professor of behavioral science at Newcastle University.

Keep reading.

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  • echar

    Try living in one. While living in St. Paul Minnesota, I was once harrassed by the neighborhood disturbed woman. We called her the crack-lady. She approached me before Iwas leaving to go to work. She asked for a few dollars “to ride the bus”. After I told her no, she got visibly upset and told me how rich I am and how she’ll pop my tires of my vehicle.

    I also accidentally picked up a hooker on Payne Ave. It was getting late at night and I saw a woman walking on the sidewalk trying to get attention. I thought, hmm this is kind of a bad neighborhood. I was boyscout, I should do my good deed. So flipped a donut and picked her up.

    I knew it was a mistake when the first words out of her mouth was “Do you have a smoke?” my answer was no, I don’t smoke anymore. So she asked “Do you have some money so that I can buy a pack”. My was no. Her next question was “Do you like women”. Clearing probing… I nervously answered… yes, but not in any weird sort of way, and where can I drop you off?

    Visibly annoyed that she couldn’t get any money out of me, or maybe she was pig and looking for a mark. She said “the blues club, down there”. I complied and dropped her off. Watching as she my vehicle, her body language flippant. I swore to never do that again. Visions of being pulled over and explaining to the pigs that I offered her a ride, while their eyes rolled at me, saying “we’ve heard that one before.”

    • American Cannibal

      OMG. I don’t even know how or if I should respond to this comment. So I’ll just say please go read Willam Vollmann’s Prostitution Trilogy.

      • echar

        Those look like an interesting read.

        • American Cannibal

          If you like big, long winded books about dangerous ideas and worlds written in a no-holds-barred style that takes a hard-eyed look at a version of reality we almost never experience, you will not be disappointed with Vollmann’s works (great visual artist too). He basically lived on the streets with prostitutes to research the books, and has a terrific empathy towards their situations.

          • echar

            I am open to new interests. I liked the books about the Mafia that I read several years ago. Maybe I’ll like these, I’ll add them to my list.

    • Juan

      Great story. Lucky you did not get hassled by the pigs.

      • American Cannibal

        I owe you posts re: physics. But I’ve been slammed with projects all week and had 2 in-progress comments deleted by refresh so I gave up. I’ll get to you eventually, promise.

        • Juan

          No worries, man. Take your time. The hamster on the wheel in my brain needs a rest anyway.

  • ÿ

    Moving from the exurbs/suburbs to a succession of urban locations is a significant part of the reason I am no longer a “conservative”. Reality is a harsh mistress.

    • kowalityjesus

      Contrarily, I have the hardest time fighting pro-gun, anti-socialist, knee-jerk reactions when I visit the ghetto.

      • ÿ

        Try living there a while and getting to know your fellow human being before condemning them. First-hand personal experience undertaken with an open mind can be an amazing thing.

        • kowalityjesus

          fellow, I’ve been there.

          • ÿ

            lather, rinse, repeat

          • ÿ

            Email records all, ein Freund von mir. You have a sort of sad, quiet desperation about you. Give it over to Jebus.

          • kowalityjesus

            ha I know that. so does God.

          • ÿ

            The demiurge or archon you refer to as “God” may know. He/it also does not care.

          • kowalityjesus

            *whhhoooo*…how wrong you are, fellow citizen

          • ÿ

            I had a premonition I would be recycling this from Andrew’s recent posts.

      • echar

        That’s a great way to either getting yourself shot, or acquiring some murder charges. It’s all about demeanor and presence in these neighborhoods. Unless you’re a drug dealer, you’re are more likely to get robbed in a rich neighborhood. Why risk your future to break and enter poor people?

        • kowalityjesus

          People are so fucking complicated. I know, as Paul said, that God will not waste any of our suffering. Jesus also said that the kingdom Heaven belongs to the peacemakers, and blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. What, then, in the face of practicality and with the winds of grace behind us, the fuck ought we do? no profound answers here.

  • BuzzCoastin

    even a short visit to Earth
    can alter the psyche

    • Calypso_1

      Been meaning to talk to my travel agent about that.

  • Calypso_1

    It’s an awesome study.

    • The Well Dressed Man

      Speaking of bad neighborhoods…

      Yes it’s viral marketing. Oh well. Happy New Year.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUKMUZ4tlJg

      • Calypso_1

        Gotta love the totally nonplussed sanitation worker. He’s probably seen worse.

  • Calypso_1

    Looking at the study I see a pretty big flaw. Their is no attempt to ascertain or control for any social priming the volunteers had about the nature of social structures or environments. I don’t see any survey of social attitudes or backgrounds for the volunteers.
    How much of their paranoia and anxiety is projected from preconceived notions about social class?

    • kowalityjesus

      Good point. I was put off by the leading notion of verbal data altogether, and would prefer the use of brainwaves. I guarantee I would register less reactively than some others, as I have had my share of visits to the awful ghettos in Poletown, Detroit and Druid Hill, Baltimore in my life.

  • DonovanCagliero

    I can attest to this. Some friends and I went on a road trip and our sheltered, white-asses got the shit kicked out of them. Still, it puts the world in better perspective.

  • Dingbert

    “Nettle next would like to take people from the poorer neighborhood and have them spend time in the richer neighborhood”

    Maybe I’m projecting, but I expect the same result, plus anger and depression.

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