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Thread: Social conformity linked to brain

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    Default Social conformity linked to brain

    http://topicfire.com/share/Scientist...-19308613.html

    Every generation has its James Dean: the rebel who refuses to follow the path beaten by their peers. Now, a new study in Current Biology has found a link between the amount of grey matter in one specific brain region and an individual's likelihood of conforming to social pressures.

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    Interesting paradox...sociopathy tends to correlate to greater activity in the rear areas of the brain and, in particular, less in the right frontal lobe, and yet sociopaths are known for being masters of conformity and social disguise.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    program the mind by giving images emotional connotations (both processed in the hindbrain); the forebrain creates associations/situations that fix them in place. conformity amounts to successful shock treatment, sociopathy controlling one's pulse under a lie detector.
    4w3-5w6-8w7

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    Yeah, I mean the raw polarities are still felt by the primitive style, but can only really be called upon as absolutes or generalities, whereas the addition of purely subjective social implications and contextual associations refines their applications; the more rigid feel and un-nuanced application of social norms that results as a lack of intuitive contextual memorization is probably part of what gives people the "creeps" from sociopaths.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    So should I throw out my belief in free will now?

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    Quote Originally Posted by kassie View Post
    So should I throw out my belief in free will now?
    No, FUCK your free will.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    free will has to be thrown out; all there is, is will.. but this presupposes an environment having been willed; so it boils down to foreknowledge/awareness. you may be willing tirelessly to a result, yet on implicit command. will is ultimately a qualifier of how this foreknowledge is filtered on a primitive level, what are you attracting to yourself.

    wanting is the opposite of willing, it repulses things for you. comically, this is the dichotomy that sustains the slave-master relation of our society; lack is a positive substance. it's the psychological root of sociopathy as well, in that instincts are taken as results of situations, when the reality is opposite; the psychos just kind of course through the middle of this false dilemma. the mechanism only works cause it's preconscious.
    4w3-5w6-8w7

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    "Social conformity linked to brain" -- Gee, what else is new? I thought it was linked to the liver.

    Show me an effective treatment, and I'll be impressed.

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    Hahahahaha

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    Quote Originally Posted by tcaudilllg View Post
    "Social conformity linked to brain" -- Gee, what else is new? I thought it was linked to the liver.

    Show me an effective treatment, and I'll be impressed.
    But...we know HOW. That's more important than "treating" it; in fact, the knowledge will likely serve as "treatment" in itself for some.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    Quote Originally Posted by strrrng View Post
    free will has to be thrown out; all there is, is will
    This. Nothing is free.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    These studies are little more than rebuttals against crazies. Not a good use of time or resources, on their own.

    On the other hand, best to know as much about the brain as possible, so that the med people can at least know where NOT to look.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilly View Post
    This. Nothing is free.
    but everything is everything
    4w3-5w6-8w7

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    Quote Originally Posted by strrrng View Post
    but everything is everything
    You still have to reach for it
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    like gatsby
    4w3-5w6-8w7

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    Enjoy the party.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilly View Post
    But...we know HOW. That's more important than "treating" it; in fact, the knowledge will likely serve as "treatment" in itself for some.
    Why does social conformity need treating? For most people, it's safer to have them conform than, I don't know, touching live wires and looting mah house...
    Quote Originally Posted by Agee The Great View Post
    Nobody here...besides me, seems to know what SLE is except for maybe Maritsa.

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    Quote Originally Posted by octo View Post
    Why does social conformity need treating? For most people, it's safer to have them conform than, I don't know, touching live wires and looting mah house...
    Have you ever heard of, say, Adolph Hitlers and the Nazis?

    People should make INFORMED decisions, not SELF-COERCED ones.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    Its true that social conformity can have really horrible consequences but I wonder what the alternative would be like, if everyone was cured of it. I'm sure it would be better in some ways, but its embedded in our brains for a reason. I think more of peoples lives are influenced by this instinct than they probably realize, even people who are extremely independent by current standards.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilly View Post
    People should make INFORMED decisions, not SELF-COERCED ones.
    Wouldn't an INFORMED decision take into consideration information beyond one's personal experience?
    Would you completely disregard information from a person who is a trusted expert in that particular field? As if it never existed? And then still consider yourself fully INFORMED on the topic/situation?
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    Social conformity can both be positive and negative. It seems ridiculously absolutist to think in terms of one extreme or the other.

    Society consists of subcultures that conflict as well and over time culture evolves. Even further who is to say that the society that survived social evolution is superior? That seems to have a sort of "social darwinism" feel to it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Darwinism

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    Quote Originally Posted by HaveLucidDreamz View Post
    I'm wondering is social conformity considered to be a positive or negative thing?
    Objectively? its kind of up to you to decide.

    I think its a natural phenomenon, my immediate reaction is to think of it as negative but I think that inclination is probably influenced by the culture I'm surrounded by (u.s. praise of independence, etc).

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    Quote Originally Posted by kassie View Post
    Objectively? its kind of up to you to decide.

    I think its a natural phenomenon, my immediate reaction is to think of it as negative but I think that inclination is probably influenced by the culture I'm surrounded by (u.s. praise of independence, etc).
    It's definitely thought provoking =p

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    Something about how the article is written is driving me a bit nuts, but I can't put my finger on it.
    Part of it, I think, is because it starts out talking about studying how people make decisions,
    That their eventual decision can be 'influenced by the options chosen by others',
    And then it jumps into 'conforming to social pressure.'

    The test asked what the participants thought of some music,
    Then the participants were told (informed) of what other people (critics) thought of the music,
    And then the participants were asked to rate the music again.

    * what rating system was involved? A simple like/dislike? Or an actual set of music critiquing questions? Such as volume, tones, rhythms, expressional, tension/release, rise/fall, scratchiness, clarity, etc (I dunno what music critics actuall attend to when critiquing music)
    * had the participants experienced the expert critiquing method before? Were the participants familiar with critquing music themselves in this way? Or was it first introduced to them via this test?
    * were the participants asked about what influenced their change in rating? (related to the questions above) or did the scientists make a number of assumptions?

    (Edited to add: * were the participants given conflicting expert ratings from which to choose from? Perhaps a rating that more closely matched their own initial ratings, and one that was significantly different?

    Oh, and * how much of a change in rating was there?)


    According to wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbitofrontal_cortex
    the OFC decision making process includes information of emotion and reward. (simplified)

    Which leads me to also wonder:

    * HOW was the information of the critics' given to the participants? Tone of voice? Decision-making interuption? Suggested threat/reward associated?

    * how long did this influence last? Were the participants tested at a later time to determine if the influence was temporary?
    or did the influence last a longer term, perhaps make a permanent change?

    -----
    What does this mean in practical application? In every day life? Have we actually learned anything new?
    We already know that what we say might influence how someone else perceives something.
    We also know that we are influenced by what we read or listen to.
    And it doesn't even have to be in argument form for it to influence us.
    (at least I,m assuming people here know that)

    Is this influence a bad thing?
    Imo, not necessarily. How else are we to obtain information beyond personal experiences?
    Why bother communicating at all if not to share personal learnings/ideas or learn from the learnings/experiences/ideas of others?
    I suppose we could just limit ourselves to screeches and calls of emotions and threats...oh wait, but that would also be part of interacting with and communicating with our environment.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilly View Post
    Enjoy the party.
    shrug. handing out invites.

    Quote Originally Posted by kassie View Post
    Its true that social conformity can have really horrible consequences but I wonder what the alternative would be like, if everyone was cured of it. I'm sure it would be better in some ways, but its embedded in our brains for a reason. I think more of peoples lives are influenced by this instinct than they probably realize, even people who are extremely independent by current standards.
    programming a cure for conformity.

    Quote Originally Posted by anndelise View Post
    Wouldn't an INFORMED decision take into consideration information beyond one's personal experience?
    Would you completely disregard information from a person who is a trusted expert in that particular field? As if it never existed? And then still consider yourself fully INFORMED on the topic/situation?
    receiving information is PART of personal experience. how you filter it determines whether you're being improperly influenced or not. if it's an 'expert opinion' delivered with bland condescension, then yeah, the information has already been degraded by an agenda; that doesn't imply it won't be evaluated, though.
    4w3-5w6-8w7

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    Quote Originally Posted by anndelise View Post
    Wouldn't an INFORMED decision take into consideration information beyond one's personal experience?
    Would you completely disregard information from a person who is a trusted expert in that particular field? As if it never existed? And then still consider yourself fully INFORMED on the topic/situation?
    A reasonable person will still give ears to experts, just not with the same blind obedience.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    The test had a control (the persons own opinion) and one variable (the expert's opinions). How could anything else, other than random chance or, say, the air pressure in the room, have influenced the difference in opinion? It seems like a well thought-out experiment to me.

    The problem this indicates is that people change their minds based on nothing but social pressure. If there was any sort of other potential influence allowed for, it could he argued that they might truly be changing their minds based on some subjective factor that actually affected how much they enjoy it. Unfortunately there wasn't, at least from what I've read, which indicates what I've always known and hated: people are sheep. Its unfortunate and a real pity hat we forgo actual judgment based on others opinions and nothing else.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    Just as useful to ask "how do we treat people who don't conform enough?"

    I'm suspecting the problem is linked to positive traditionalism, meaning the administration of a "cure" would be pretext for a war.

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    Based on what we were told, this is what the test consisted of:

    1) List 20 songs you like, but which you don't personally own.

    (one week later)
    2) Rate your preference for each song on your song list, based on a 1-10 scale.

    3) This is what expert music critics rated their preference for each song on your song list.

    4) Now, listen to these songs which you've never heard.

    5) Now, compare your songs with these songs you just heard.

    6) Now, rerate your preference for each song on your song list.


    Lets assume that the participants were told that the unheard of song was one that was chosen by the so-called expert.

    ? How different was the chosen song from the participant's chosen song?
    ? In what ways were those songs different? In what ways were they similar?
    ? What rating did/would the participants give the unheard of song list?
    ? Did/would that unheard of song list rating match the 'experts'' ratings?
    ? Could there have been any other influences not previously considered?
    ? Could there have been any other interpretations (of the process and/or the result) than the one give?
    Edited to add: ? By how much would the ratings have changed merely by being rerated a week after the original rating?
    ? Did relistening to their song list during the week influence the rerating? Maybe listening to the song again reminded them that it's not really as good as they thought it was, particularly in comparison to their other songs. Or vice versa. (this change even before being told of the so-called expert opinion.)

    ------

    Now, let's bring this closer to home.

    Have you ever exchanged music lists with others?
    Have you ever been introduced to new music, some of which you felt sounded better than what you sometimes listen to, some of which sounds worse?

    Why do you introduce new music to someone else?
    Do you do it in order to pressure them to conform to your own tastes?

    When you decide you like a song someone else introduced to you, and you decide that it sounds better than a song you sometimes listen to, does this mean that you've conformed to their tastes?

    Think about the songs you used to listen to when you were a kid.
    Now think of the songs you listened to as a teen.
    Now think of the songs you listen to now.
    And think of the songs that people have shared with you.

    Would it be accurate, in your opinion, to say that your music preferences changed over the years because you were CONFORMING to the tastes of others?
    (and not for any other possible reasons?)
    Last edited by anndelise; 02-22-2012 at 10:35 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kassie View Post
    So should I throw out my belief in free will now?
    Ah yes, better later than never.

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    I think everything's linked to the brain. I mean our chemical balances and brain cells concentrations and just the physical form that is our brain and neurobiology is the thing that is expressing itself through our behavior and choices (although I think that it may be that it's not just the brain but the entire body but we're all obsessed with our brains, so no matter). So at every point its form reflects a person and what they do--but at the same time what they do, think, feel and so on reflects back upon the form and can affect and change it. That said I mean it's not like anything is possible. I mean if someone has always been very introverted and doesn't like being around lots of people keeping to him/herself then that probably is rather inherent. So by their feeling of free will they prefer not to interact with lots of people on most occassions as it is such a drain and stressful experience. And I suppose that you could take everything they prefer and link it to something that appears to be inherent leaving the question of what is left that isn't: chasing after the elusive sense of free will. I was going to argue for free will but now I feel like arguing against it. All is lost. But actually even then there will be some room left for variation (which we could ahem plug random conditions of their lives into and then nothing is left). But I believe that free will is possible. That one can find a "stop" to all of these processes careening out of control on their own and add in a little mindfulness and then choose to do something else. Maybe. I hate going on about "choices" however as that is so annoying. Sometimes my mom gives me the choices speech. And I know it ties into responsibility for one's actions but I can see all the things contributing to other things that beg the question of how important are choices, really.

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    Interesting, loki.


    My own take on free will is that if we know what we are working with, then we have the ability to start directing it into the direction we,d prefer it to go. Major changes are harder to create than more subtle changes. We are still, ultimately, influenced by chemicals/emotions/patterns/experiences, but there are usually little areas which we could tweak, as a way of guiding those things which are propelling our actions/thoughts.

    These tweakable areas seem, to me, to occur in areas/situations where we are at a bit of a stalemate, neither one side necessarily over another, or maybe it,s only a little over another. We can, in essence, create a snowball effect, so that, eventually, we won't have to work so hard to decide...in that particular area/situation.

    Is this technically "free will"? No.
    But it sure can feel like it.
    Last edited by anndelise; 02-22-2012 at 08:00 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by anndelise View Post
    Have you ever exchanged music lists with others?
    Nope.

    Have you ever been introduced to new music, some of which you felt sounded better than what you sometimes listen to, some of which sounds worse?
    Partially.

    Why do you introduce new music to someone else?
    I don't.

    Do you do it in order to pressure them to conform to your own tastes?
    Nope. Taste is learned.

    When you decide you like a song someone else introduced to you, and you decide that it sounds better than a song you sometimes listen to, does this mean that you've conformed to their tastes?
    I don't decide it sounds better, it's new and I'm okay with it. Usually has to be really good, something I have never heard before that actually captures me in it, so in a way I'm bending to one's taste and decide to make it my own for I like it as well.

    Think about the songs you used to listen to when you were a kid.
    Now think of the songs you listened to as a teen.
    Now think of the songs you listen to now.
    And think of the songs that people have shared with you.

    Would it be accurate, in your opinion, to say that your music preferences changed over the years because you were CONFORMING to the tastes of others?
    (and not for any other possible reasons?)
    Nope.

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    Quote Originally Posted by anndelise View Post
    Something about how the article is written is driving me a bit nuts, but I can't put my finger on it.
    Part of it, I think, is because it starts out talking about studying how people make decisions,
    That their eventual decision can be 'influenced by the options chosen by others',
    And then it jumps into 'conforming to social pressure.'
    What's the difference? If the only thing that happens is hearing someone else's opinion, it's pretty obvious that no factors other than "social pressure" can be at work. The "expert" doesn't just represent himself, but the fact that "everyone should agree with the experts." Granted, the experts OFTEN disagree, but the point is that the title of expert exerts the power of social standards and consensus.

    The test asked what the participants thought of some music,
    Then the participants were told (informed) of what other people (critics) thought of the music,
    And then the participants were asked to rate the music again.

    * what rating system was involved? A simple like/dislike? Or an actual set of music critiquing questions? Such as volume, tones, rhythms, expressional, tension/release, rise/fall, scratchiness, clarity, etc (I dunno what music critics actuall attend to when critiquing music)
    * had the participants experienced the expert critiquing method before? Were the participants familiar with critquing music themselves in this way? Or was it first introduced to them via this test?
    Why SHOULD they be well informed? A simple rating would be most honest: seeing if people's simply stated likes or dislikes change, based on one factor: expert opinion. It seems very straightforward to me.


    * were the participants asked about what influenced their change in rating? (related to the questions above) or did the scientists make a number of assumptions?
    How can they be trusted? The only reliable factor or variable is that they have been informed of the opinions of experts.

    (Edited to add: * were the participants given conflicting expert ratings from which to choose from? Perhaps a rating that more closely matched their own initial ratings, and one that was significantly different?
    But then it's just two experts, it ruins the experiment because the point is seeing whether or not it has ANY affect; considering it's over something so subjective as taste in music, that, I think, is sufficient, and really all that the test is trying to determine.

    Oh, and * how much of a change in rating was there?)
    That would be good to know, I very much agree with you here.


    According to wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbitofrontal_cortex
    the OFC decision making process includes information of emotion and reward. (simplified)

    Which leads me to also wonder:

    * HOW was the information of the critics' given to the participants? Tone of voice? Decision-making interuption? Suggested threat/reward associated?
    * how long did this influence last? Were the participants tested at a later time to determine if the influence was temporary?
    or did the influence last a longer term, perhaps make a permanent change?
    This would also be useful to know. However the results happen to be backed up by what little evidence there is surrounding the functions of the human brain. For example, it is rather widely accepted that the right frontal cortex is responsible for many of the more subjective, emotional thought processes humans play host to. In my opinion this aligns with sentiments about the forebrain being responsible for conformity.

    -----
    What does this mean in practical application? In every day life? Have we actually learned anything new?
    We already know that what we say might influence how someone else perceives something.
    We also know that we are influenced by what we read or listen to.
    And it doesn't even have to be in argument form for it to influence us.
    (at least I,m assuming people here know that)
    Quite true. However the lack of control or specific justification taking place in this form of influence is worrying to me, personally.

    Is this influence a bad thing?
    Imo, not necessarily. How else are we to obtain information beyond personal experiences?
    Why bother communicating at all if not to share personal learnings/ideas or learn from the learnings/experiences/ideas of others?
    I suppose we could just limit ourselves to screeches and calls of emotions and threats...oh wait, but that would also be part of interacting with and communicating with our environment.
    The thing is, we shouldn't take the things each other say for granted. We are all responsible for having knowledge of the world and the way it works, because there is no other way for us to accurately represent whatever piece of the pie we happen to occupy. If we start eating to much out of someone else's pie, we are neglecting our own, and societies tend to treat people no better than how well they demand to be treated. If we don't know what we really want, or say that we want something else, how can we be happy?
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    Gilly, read post 29. There was much more to the test than saying how the experts rated the songs.
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    I don't know, it still seems fairly obvious to me. I agree that the specifics should be published; maybe they are somewhere.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilly View Post
    I don't know, it still seems fairly obvious to me. I agree that the specifics should be published; maybe they are somewhere.
    I'm curious...would it still seem as fairly obvious to you if it weren,t done by scientists/experts?
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    Oh forget it anndelise, Gilly can't speak brain, he's got none.

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    Quote Originally Posted by anndelise View Post
    I'm curious...would it still seem as fairly obvious to you if it weren,t done by scientists/experts?
    Well, considering they'd likely be the only ones to have the proper tools...no, not at all.

    Don't make the mistake of thinking I am taking the results for granted; like I said, I'd want to see more details as well, but the design of the experiment seems very straightforward and is not, IMO, what merits questioning; certainly no more than the entire scientific/academic institution. It also happens to generally coincide with most of what I've read in terms of the respective cognitive responsibilities of each of these. In my opinion, critique of this experiment would be better directed at the aims and motives of the academic community that spawned them. And that is certainly a discussion I am willing to have, and frequently do, but it is not what you are explicitly addressing

    By the way, the comparison you are snidely drawing between me and these people is totally invalid, and as such rather immaturely distracting from the real discussion; I, personally, have no expertise in matters of brain chemistry and its phenomenal characteristics, which means that I am entirely reliant upon the works and conclusions of others (having been fed their kool aid from elementary school on up), while on the other hand I am QUITE aware of, occasionally even insistent upon , my own tastes when it comes to music and art.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    Quote Originally Posted by kassie View Post
    Its true that social conformity can have really horrible consequences but I wonder what the alternative would be like, if everyone was cured of it. I'm sure it would be better in some ways, but its embedded in our brains for a reason.
    That cause is our evolutionary heredity. If we were "cured" of social conformity then instead of the world being filled with the advanced chimps that humans are it would be filled instead with something more akin to advanced orangutans.

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