订阅

多平台阅读

微信订阅

杂志

申请纸刊赠阅

订阅每日电邮

移动应用

商业

对英国脱欧的心理学分析

Jeffrey Kluger 2016年06月29日

英国公投决定脱欧既是出于政治考量,也是感情使然。它可以说是必然要发生的事件。

 
 

本次公投对英国来说利弊难判,但它意味着修辞界将变得热闹非凡,评论者和政坛人士倾尽全力,用不同的方式来表达外界对公投结果的惊讶。但凡牵涉到英国人,相关新闻总会让我们吃惊、不安、震惊、慌乱、紧张,亦或目瞪口呆。

然而,有一个群体甚至一点儿也不惊讶,那就是心理学家。如果我们先问过他们,我们或许也不会吃惊了。脱欧公投的动力来自政治和经济,没错,但它更主要的是源于人类思维的非理性活动。如果欧盟剩余成员希望共建未来,这个问题就值得考虑。

在欧盟解体这个问题上,最容易预见的一点是自欧盟成立以来,所有成员国都曾发牢骚说要脱离这个群体。首先付诸行动的则是英国人。自力更生会让自己更大更强的信念最有可能阻止个人或群体把自己的身份融入一个更大的群体。

希腊和意大利曾拥有主宰世界的文化,但它们的全盛时期出现在千年以前。相反,日不落帝国是一些活着的,或者说上了年纪的英国人的亲身体验。对其他英国人来说,这段黄金时期由自己的父母或祖父母亲口讲述,与其说是古代史,更不如说是口耳相传的故事。这让与另外27个国家平起平坐的想法变得尤其难以接受。

天普大学心理学家弗兰克·法利研究冒险、历史和政治心理学。他说:“英国曾经是海洋的统治者,但其衰落已经持续了很长一段时间。当然,在欧洲英国依然强大,但其地域范围仅限于英伦三岛。在内心深处,成为轮子上的一个齿而不是整个齿轮让英国人很恼火,对此我们不应感到意外。”

国家自主权和民族认同感同样重要。欧盟的决策一直都低效而复杂。从进口法规到香蕉的恰当弧度,一切都要由设在布鲁塞尔的崭新官僚机构投票决定。不过,这不仅仅是低效问题,它还让人有些气恼,没有哪个国家很喜欢跟那么多国家“比嗓门”。失去发言权是分离主义和退出的一个关键因素。

苏格兰邓迪大学心理学家法比奥·萨尼指出:“社会研究者发现,当一个人感到在某个群体中有发言权的时候,他对这个群体的认同感通常就会较强。我觉得许多反欧洲人士想脱欧的原因是他们觉得英国在欧洲没有发言权。”

即将卸任的英国首相大卫·卡梅隆在2013年谋求连任时承诺将发起公投,这可能是为上述民族主义“高烧”降温的好办法。当然,它在2014年的苏格兰独立公投中发挥了作用。在公投前的拉票活动中,投票者也许度过了一段欢乐时光,他们可以把脸涂成蓝白色,高举《勇敢的心》海报。然而,到了做决定的时候,苏格兰人用55比45的明确结果把自己留在了大不列颠。但本次脱欧公投中,这项策略以失败告终。

萨尼说:“我觉得卡梅隆认为自己能赢得公投,进而让党内以及别处的反对者闭上嘴。他的失误之处在于他认为有足够多的投票者对欧盟的态度跟他一样。实则不然。”

出现这种情况的原因之一是欧洲大陆的本土主义全面抬头,这一点令人担忧,而且或许也是卡梅隆三年前无法预见到的。欧洲一直存在民族主义者,叙利亚内战带来的难民危机壮大了他们的声势,这很不幸。而巴黎和奥兰多等地的恐怖袭击让他们得以把这一点转化为公开的恐外情绪。英国也许没有唐纳德·特朗普那样的“雾笛”型人士,呼吁绕着英国筑起围墙,但这并不是说与之类似的封锁边境倾向并未产生影响。

埃默里大学心理学家德鲁·韦斯滕认为:“关注移民问题有一个实实在在的立法方面的原因。可惜的是,伊斯兰国让一些本该是中立派的人基于有意无意的偏见或倾向参加了投票。”几乎不能因此断言那些支持脱欧的英国人受到了种族歧视影响,但它确实意味着和较为安定的时期相比,那些利用种族歧视的人对投票者有了更大的影响。

今后的一个问题是英国的脱欧公投会不会在欧洲引发全面退出。美国在这方面的经验表明不会有什么好事。美国内战期间南方并未整体脱离联邦。但从1860年12月到1861年6月,先后有11个州退出,最早的是南加州,最后一个是田纳西州。1861年1月的短短17天里就有五个州相继脱离联邦。这样的浪潮一旦出现就很难遏制。

法利说:“我认为这对欧洲来说确实是个风险。这在很大程度上来源于情绪。人们并不会把留欧或脱欧的利弊都写下来,然后得出结论。许多人投的都是情感票。”

现在,欧盟领导人得撤掉全体会议桌前的一把椅子,而英国在厘清与欧盟成员国关系时遇到的挑战可能会在很大程度上决定这些国家会不会步其后尘。然而,尽管这些都是政治问题,但在这些国家做决定的过程中,心理因素的影响至少会和理性一样大。这是一个很麻烦的事实,同时也是彻彻底底的真实人性。 (财富中文网)

译者:Charlie

审校:夏林

The Brexit vote may or may not be a good thing for the U.K., but it means boom times for the adjective industry, with commentators and politicians falling all over themselves to come up with different ways of saying that the world was surprised the results. We have been alternately stunned, roiled, shocked, jolted, rattled and—as is inevitable whenever the Brits are involved—gobsmacked by the news.

But there’s one group of folks who haven’t been the slightest bit surprised: the psychologists—and if we’d asked them first, we might not be either. The Brexit vote was motivated by politics and economics, yes, but it was more primally a function of the irrational ways of the human mind—something worth considering if the rest of the European Union hopes to have a future together.

The most predictable part of the fracture in the alliance was that of all of the countries that have grumbled about leaving the E.U. since its formation, it was the Brits who jumped first. There is nothing that makes individuals or groups less likely to immerse their identities into that of a larger group than the belief that they were bigger and better on their own.

Greece and Italy were once home to the world’s dominant cultures, but their period of primacy was millennia ago. The era when the sun never set on the British empire, by contrast, occurred in the lifetimes of some living—if aged—Britons. For the rest, that golden time was less ancient history than oral history, a period described to them in the first person by their parents and grandparents. That made the idea of being just one of 28 especially hard to swallow.

“Britain once ruled the waves and has been diminished for a long time,” says psychologist Frank Farley of Temple University, who studies risk-taking, history and political psychology. “It remains a power in Europe for sure, but it’s diminished to the island geography. We shouldn’t be surprised that at a deep level, Britons chafed at just being one cog in the wheel as opposed to the wheel.”

Just as important as national identity was national autonomy. Decision-making in the E.U. was always going to be cumbersome, with a brand-new bureaucracy in Brussels voting on everything from import regulations to the proper curvature of a banana. That’s more than just inefficient, however, it’s also a bit galling, with no nation much liking it when its voice must compete with those of so many others. And loss of voice is a key factor in separatism and secession.

“Social researchers know that identity with a group is normally stronger when one has a sense of having a voice within that group,” says psychologist Fabio Sani of Scotland’s University of Dundee. “I sense that many of the anti-European people wanted to exit because they felt that the U.K. doesn’t have that in Europe.”

Calling for a vote—as soon-to-be former Prime Minister David Cameron promised to do when he ran for re-election in 2013—can be a good way to break that kind of nationalist fever. Certainly, it worked in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum. Voters may have had a high-old time during the campaign with their blue and white face paint and their Braveheart posters, but once it came time to make a decision, they voted by a convincing 55 to 45 majority to remain a part of Great Britain. In the current vote, that strategy failed.

“I think Cameron thought he’d win the vote and then silence the opposing voices in his party and elsewhere,” says Sani. “What he miscalculated was thinking that enough voters had the same perspective on the E.U. as he did. They didn’t.”

One reason for that—which Cameron might not have been able to foresee three years ago—is the alarming rise in nativism across the continent. The immigration crisis caused by the Syrian civil war has given European nationalists—who have always been there—an unfortunate boost, and the terrorist attacks in Paris, Orlando and elsewhere have allowed them to spin that into open xenophobia. The U.K. may not have a fog-horn figure like Donald Trump calling for building walls around the island, but that doesn’t me an that the same kind of close-the-border dynamic wasn’t in play.

“There’s a very legitimate reason to be concerned about immigration,” says psychologist Drew Westen of Emory University. “Unfortunately ISIS has given would-be fence-sitters the permission to vote out of some combination of conscious or unconscious prejudice or bias.” That hardly means that pro-Brexit Britons acted out of racism; it does mean that people who do traffic in racism had more power to influence voters than they would have had in more peaceable times.

One question going forward is whether the Brexit vote will lead to an exit contagion across Europe. America’s own experience with secession does not portend good things. The South did not walk out en masse before the Civil War. There were eleven serial secessions—beginning with South Carolina and ending with Tennessee—from December of 1860 to June of 1861, with five states quitting over the course of just 17 days in January. A bandwagon, once started, can be hard to stop.

“I think it does pose a risk in Europe,” says Farley. “Much of this is emotional. People aren’t putting together a ledger with the negatives and positives of staying or leaving and then coming to a conclusion. A lot of voting is that way.”

For now, E.U. leaders will have to remove only one chair from the continental conference table, and the challenges Britain faces as it unwinds its relationship with the rest of Union will likely play a big role in determining if any other members follow. As with all things political, however, psychology will play at least as big a role as reason in the decisions those countries make. It’s a messy truth, but it’s an entirely human one too.

我来点评

  最新文章

最新文章:

500强情报中心

财富专栏