The Psychology of Taking a Knee

Jeremy Adam Smith and Dacher Keltner: By transforming this ritual, the players woke us up. Our amygdalae activate as soon as our brains spot deviations from routine, social norms, and in-group tendencies. We want to know what’s happening and why. We need to know if the deviation poses a threat to us or our group. This may start to explain why so many Americans reacted with such fear and rage to a few athletes kneeling on the field in the midst of a national ritual. But there’s a lot more to it than that.

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