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Are we hard-wired to be rebellious? How part of our brain 'controls whether we fit in with the crowd'

Press/Media: Press / Media

20/02/2012
As in James Dean’s Rebel Without a Cause, there are always those who refuse to follow the crowd. Now scientists have discovered for the first time that being rebellious may be hard-wired in our brains. Researchers found that the extent to which people changed their minds to fit in with the crowd was directly linked to the size of a specific area of their brains. A study lead by neuroscientists at UCL used brain scans to show rebellious may not just be a product of your upbringing, but an innate quality. They did scans on 28 people and measured the amount of grey matter in the different regions of the brain. Male speech patterns change with female fertility, claims study Research shows toddlers understand right from wrong at just 19 months Participants then did a test in which they were asked to list 20 songs they would like to buy - and rate how much they liked each song out of 10. The researchers then told them what well-known music critics thought of their choices – and asked them to rate the songs again. The test was repeated with 20 unknown pieces of music. Research: The people tested were asked to list to music they wanted to buy and give it a mark out of ten before reading a review of the songs and then giving it a rating again based on the critics' comments People who conformed – and changed their mind to what the experts thought – were found to have more grey matter in their lateral orbitofrontal cortex, an area associated with social behaviour and decision-making. The more a person ignored the experts and stuck to their guns, the smaller this region was, according to a study published today in the journal Current Biology. This brain area, located behind the eyes, grows rapidly during childhood as we start to grasp social cues, but it is unclear why or when some people’s stops growing. Damage to it is linked to behaving inappropriately in social situations or at the extreme end with personality disorders. Professor Chris Frith of UCL said: ‘Only this region was affected which was surprising. Our results show that social conformation is, at least in part, hard-wired in the structure of the brain. ‘Adapting to others is very important. It makes people like you more, and it be very useful if other people have more information than you have as it shows you what they value most. ‘My guess is that it’s better if more people are conformists than rebels, but you need a few rebels otherwise there would be no progress.’ Conformity was studied in the famous Ash Experiment in the USA in 1951. Subjects were given a piece of paper containing three lines of different lengths and another pievce with just one line. When asked which of the three lines was the same length as the single line on the other page, they gave the obvious correct answer. But when seven other pretend ‘participants’ gave the wrong answer - they did too. Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2103859/Are-hard-wired-rebellious-How-brain-controls-fit-crowd.html#ixzz1n8WkFmvr

References

References

TitleAre we hard-wired to be rebellious? How part of our brain 'controls whether we fit in with the crowd' Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2103859/Are-hard-wired-rebellious-How-brain-controls-fit-crowd.html#ixzz1n8WkFmvr
Media name/outletDaily Mail
Duration/Length/SizeLondon, UK
Date20/02/2012
Producer/AuthorBy TAMARA COHEN
URLwww.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2103859/Are-hard-wired-rebellious-How-brain-controls-fit-crowd.html?ito=feeds-newsxml
PersonsDaniel Campbell-Meiklejohn, Chris D Frith
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