Jun 20, 2022

The Psychology of Victim Mentality & Cancel Culture with Cory Clark

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Cancel Culture, Human Biases, Mental Health, Morality, Victimhood, Virtue Signaling


Lately, I’ve been feeling motivated to explore my own (and what seems to be the world in general’s) edge around having hard conversations. What shapes binary/black and white thinking, and what has created the inability to speak about subjects that have become so hypersensitive? How can we disagree with love and curiosity?

It seems that more often than not, we cease talking about certain things altogether because it’s easier to avoid cancellation, the possibility of being criticized, and conflict. But whenever we do this, we don’t actually serve our communities, our society, or the world as a whole.

I’m so excited for you to hear this conversation with Cory Clark and was blown away by the research she shares about human biases, victim mentality, and more. It gave me the opportunity to explore my own personal biases and to bring light to the things that I don’t even see about myself and the way I see the world. I hope it does the same for you.

Cory Clark is the Director of the Adversarial Collaboration Project at the University of Pennsylvania and a Visiting Scholar in the Psychology Department. She received her Ph.D. in Social and Personality Psychology and Quantitative Methods from the University of California, Irvine, and formerly worked as an Assistant Professor of Social Psychology at Durham University in the United Kingdom and the Director of Academic Engagement for Heterodox Academy. Among other things, she studies political biases (on both the left and right) and how moral and political concerns influence evaluations of science among everyday people and scientists alike. She writes a Psychology Today blog called The AntiSocial Psychologist and occasionally co-hosts the YouTube channel and podcast, Antisocial Psychologists.


  • How victimhood can be used for manipulation/to gain very real benefits
  • Why we tend to cancel other people for having different opinions
  • How research shows that being perceived as a victim can justify immoral behavior


00:00 Intro

01:27 Social media reinforces our beliefs

03:46 Competition in research

06:34 Being biased is human nature

11:14 The bias blindspot

12:52 Vicitmhood and the evolutionary benefits of playing victim

21:26 Justification of immoral behaviors

26:24 Emotional manipulation & victim playing

33:57 Victim and virtue signaling

39:46 Obsessive passions versus harmonious passions

41:56 Having a different opinion

43:32 Verbal versus physical violence

46:40 Extremist people

56:47 Participating in canceling by refusing to talk about it

1:00:50 Taking things to social media instead of talking about things privately

1:04:25 Being held accountable for what we say

1:07:20 Self-censorship