Science has been constantly developing the knowledge that we humans possess, hasn’t it? There is another world of science that has literally doubled up in the last two decades and that is the world of neuroscience. And who knows it might quadruple in the next two decades as well. Have you ever wondered, when your confidence has taken a hit or a slow is when you are more likely to agree to what others think? The latest study which was published in the PLOS biology journal examines different types of activity that a brain goes through when someone gets socially influenced and is made to change their mind.
The whole term of social influence can actually be categorized in two ways: normative and informational. Let’s talk about informational influence – it is the influence that makes us change our beliefs to words others just so that the accuracy is maximized with others. This entire process is governed by the army or amount of confidence in our previously existing beliefs. On the contrary, when we talk about normative influence it is changing our beliefs towards others for reasons not related to accuracy. For example, some of us might seek social acceptance or group cohesion. And this particular research demonstrates how the brain behaves when it is undergoing any normative influence or informative influence.
How was the study undertaken?
Research made people play computer games. While playing the game, all the participants were asked to remember where the dot was placed on the screen. They were also made to read how confident they were about their answer to this question. After the participants had answered, they were again given an opportunity to revise their previous answer after viewing answers from the computer or from their other participants. During this game, the researchers showed that the brain activity was always different between social and normative influence. Participants who were experiencing normative type of influence were known to have stronger activity in the brain area that was responsible for creating decisions and showing empathy — this region or area is known as DACC. Normative influenced participants also showed stronger connections to other regions of the brain as well. The research also showed that if the participant was facing any lower level of confidence, they were more likely to change their response and conform to the response that they were informed about.
The act of persuasion
The act of persuasion is nothing less than an art. Cognitive and behavioral psychologists all over the world said that they were not surprised that those who are not confident are the ones who get easily swayed and made to change their minds. It is natural for us to look for better choices or more information when we are in doubt. It is the quality of the choices that we make that is connected with how critically we are evaluating the information that is provided to us. And this naturally comes from normative or informational influence. Problems tend to occur when we are not evaluating the source of information and looking at the reliability and validity of the same. Being open to changing your mind is very important. If you can never change your mind and choose to stay rigid, then we are not making use of the information that is available around us.
We become smart people when we make use of the information that is given to us and then make a smart choice out of it after evaluating the information. People should always be open to changing their mind because that shows that they possess the capacity to learn and grow.
Importance of this research
There is a lot of argument to understand the brain mechanisms that occur behind a social influence and how it contributes to changing the mind. Psychologists say that we need to be open to changes but in a healthy way. We need to always start by knowing our stand first and then be aware of the influences around us and then make a decision about which influence we can allow into our life. And when we decide about whether or not we influence ourselves, we need to start from our core values. We need to consider what is important for us — is it money or family, health or adventure, status et cetera. We definitely need to change your mind if you want to be happier and healthier and most importantly more connected with loved ones.
The more we live, the more mature PR and more growth is required in order to change our minds over the course of a lifetime. An influence can also happen because of desire. It is the thoughts that influence our emotions, behavior, and any sense of the life that we are living in. Therefore, whenever you find yourself amongst multiple sources of information, always remember — to look at your core values, analyze what is more critical for you, verify it with the people you trust or even experts in that particular field and only then get influenced.
We need to understand that it is the mind that uses a brain and then our brain responds back to our mind. It is us who choose actions and it is not a brain that forces us to choose them. Remember that the mind is an energy and it also generates energy.