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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 16-Nov-14

 


Sunday 16-November-14

The good guys and the bad guys: birds of a feather?

Birds of a feather flock together, as they say. People with common interests, values and so on, are attracted to one another and will generally be more likely to make friends. This is more true than the contrary principle where opposites attract. Certainly, there are odd couples that we meet that strangely seem to work, but by and large the birds principle is far more common.

In an interesting spin on this, I was reading recently an article on the Colloquia site that describes a practical experiment where people diagonosed with various psychoses lived together in various configurations in London during the 1970s. Besides the alarming ways that people behaved in this (when you have a different reality, then your norms can be way different to more common social values), I was struck by an interesting pattern. What happened, apparently was that:

"The tendency seemed inevitable that if there were two houses one of them would become the good, clean, happy healing house and the other the bad, dirty, unhappy mad house. This phenomenon occurred several times as we moved from house to house."

Is this a 'birds of a feather' effect? Do the mad, bad or otherwise more dysfunctional people tend to join forces, while those who are happier and nicer band together. Is it something that may also be seen elsewhere in society where criminals associate with one another, or where gentle folks shun their noiser compatriots? It seems possible.


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