The Dangers of Concept Creep

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Manage episode 332516231 series 1455796
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Trauma. Violence. Bullying. Addiction. The range of things that these words encompass has expanded over time, and while my guest today would say that changes in how language is used are natural and inevitable, he also argues that the way we use words matters and has consequences, and that we need to better grapple with what those consequences are. His name is Dr. Nick Haslam and he's a professor of psychology at the University of Melbourne who has studied a phenomenon he calls "concept creep," which refers to the tendency of concepts having to do with harm — from trauma to depression — to broaden their meaning over time. Nick describes how concept creep happens in two ways — vertical and horizontal — and occurs both amongst clinicians and the general public. He explains what he thinks is behind concept creep, and how the way we talk about harm-related concepts changes how people experience themselves and life, bringing new kinds of identities and new kinds of people into existence. Nick argues that while there are upsides to concept creep, it also carries potential dangers that can negatively impact our lives.

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