Decades of research show people tend to go along with the majority view, even if that view is objectively incorrect. Now, scientists are supporting those theories with brain images.
A new study in the journal Neuron shows when people hold an opinion differing from others in a group, their brains produce an error signal. A zone of the brain popularly called the “oops area” becomes extra active, while the “reward area” slows down, making us think we are too different.
“We show that a deviation from the group opinion is regarded by the brain as a punishment,” said Vasily Klucharev, postdoctoral fellow at the F.C. Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands and lead author of the study.
Yet another reason we’re doomed to be sheep: our inner monkey wants to make peace(tm) before it wants to make realistic.