Tuesday, October 13, 2009

consciousness demoted

"The work demonstrates that we are awash in social signals, and any social science that treats individuals as discrete decision-making creatures is nonsense. But it also suggests that even though most of our reactions are fast and automatic, we still have free will and control.



Many of the studies presented here concerned the way we divide people by in-group and out-group categories in as little as 170 milliseconds. The anterior cingulate cortices in American and Chinese brains activate when people see members of their own group endure pain, but they do so at much lower levels when they see members of another group enduring it. These effects may form the basis of prejudice.


In other words, consciousness is too slow to see what happens inside, but it is possible to change the lenses through which we unconsciously construe the world"

Extracts from an article by David Brooks, NYT, about 'social cognitive neuroscience'. See the rest HERE

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