Skip to comments.You Have One Second to Change Your Mind
Posted on 09/21/2011 1:11:52 PM PDT by MattAMatt
By Matthew Council
Ever asked yourself, What is this guy thinking? as you suffer through the passionate postings of a misinformed political extremist. A few irrational ideas are tolerable, but frustrations erupt when a plethora of fallacies and irrational conclusions are supported by impotent references. In the height of frustration you decide to prepare an enlightening response that is sure to change his mind. Within minutes you receive his incredible response, and its clear that he wouldnt change his opinion even if you ascended on a cloud with an IPad 7 in one hand and a lightning bolt in the other. After three rounds of exposure to political thinking, rational thought and credible facts, his inner extremist responds for him. Although, the response was basically an incoherent rant comprised of several personal insults and an irrational conclusion, his strategic placement of expletives created an intense emotional connection. Theres a good chance you knew this would happen before you acted on the decision to respond. So, now you have to ask yourself, What was I thinking? The best part is that both your decision to respond and the behavior of the extremist are examples of how unconscious decisions influence behavior. In other words, the answer to both questions is, you werent consciously thinking.
Advancements in psychology, psychophysiology and neuropsychology have provided valuable insights that give us a better understanding of the unconscious decision making process. The following is one of the latest theories of how this process actually works.
The human brain unconsciously processes everything you see, hear, think, or feel along with intricate details of experiences and outcomes of decisions. All redundant information is discarded and the compressed memories are categorized and given a level of importance. Memories that are associated with values receive the highest level of importance due to the intense emotions associated with conflicts and threatened self-determination. Once the memories are compressed, categorized, and prioritized they are sent through a neuronal network to the regions where they will be stored.
A recent study, conducted by Dr. Chun Siong Soon of the Max Plank Institute, utilized a brain scanning technique (fMRI) to measure the brain activity of 36 volunteers while they made various decisions. He was able to accurately match brain activity patterns in different parts of the brain at different times by combining the fMRI and a technique called pattern recognition. Dr. Soon found that the frontopolar cortex (FPC) and precuneus showed activity that predicted the final decision 9 seconds before the volunteers were consciously aware of the decision and 10 sec before action. In other words, you have one second to change your mind.
Soons study shows that decisions are made in the FPC before we are consciously aware. However, the process starts with the collection of comprehensive data located throughout the brain. More complex decisions require multiregional collaboration to collect the relevant memories, outcomes from previous decisions, past behaviors, relevant goals and related knowledge, along with everything youve seen, heard, thought or felt about the issue. These memories are meticulously evaluated for risk vs. reward, negative threats, possible outcomes, social acceptance, impact on others, cost vs. benefit and time till outcome (among 1000s of other variables). Complex algorithms and statistical computations are used to arrange decisions in order of favorability. The first decision is transferred to the precuneus to undergo comprehensive evaluation and testing. Decisions with unsatisfactory results are put back in line and those with satisfactory results advance to the final series of evaluations. Finally, the remaining decisions with outcomes that are most likely to cause negative emotion and conflict with values are eliminated. The prime candidate would be a decision that mirrors personal values, has the best chance of favorable outcomes and fosters positive emotions.
Values are the backbone of personal identity and changes use up a lot of energy. The prefrontal cortex has limited energy, so drastic modifications to motivations and goals are made to avoid exhausting changes. However, avoidance tactics are no match for conflicting information from persuasive social interactions (online political debate, one-on-one conversations, etc.). Threats of this nature have to be defended by insistent goals, intense motivators and negative emotions (quick fix). Unfortunately, there is not enough energy or resources to maintain this defense, so immediate intense negative emotions, expression of irrational anger and irrational behaviors are activated. Their intensity allows them to quickly brake through to the conscious brain in the form of thoughts, feelings and powerful urges to behave irrationally. A few examples of this would be talking louder, aggressive posture, angry facial expressions, resorting to personal insults and even hostility.
Once the threat is eliminated, immediate internal justification and rationalization of irrational thoughts, beliefs and behaviors begins. This prevents other decisions from being negatively affected and frees up energy and resources for unforeseen complexities. It also reinforces the acceptability of the irrational behaviors so that future threats can easily be eliminated.
Understanding how the unconscious brain influences our political decisions is the first step towards positive change. Resisting the many irrational urges that reach the conscious brain is much easier with this understanding. Armed with the ability to suppress irrational urges affords the opportunity to find the truth by seeking credible information. So, now you have to ask yourself, Am I willing to change my mind in a second?
Abelson, R.A. 'The structure of belief systems' in, R.C.Schank and K.M.Colbyeds) Computer Models of Thought and Language, W.H.Freeman 1973
Croucher, Monica. (1985). A Computational Approach to Emotions, Unpublished Thesis, University of Sussex, 1985
Roseman, Ira, 'Cognitive aspects of emotion and emotional behaviour', presented to 87th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, 1979.
Chun Siong Soon, Marcel Brass, Hans-Jochen Heinze & John-Dylan Haynes, Unconscious Determinants of Free Decisions in the Human Brain. Nature Neuroscience, April 13th, 2008.
Berthoz S, Grezes J, Armony JL, Passingham RE, Dolan RJ. Affective response to ones own moral violations. Neuroimage. 2006;31:945-950.
No, what we have to ask ourselves is: "why are you trying to undermine our clarity and common sense about standing up to tyranny"?
Do you mean "break" through? That seems more appropriate unless you are slowing madly as you go through.
“why are you trying to undermine our clarity and common sense about standing up to tyranny”?
I think you missed the point. There are some people that are just not worth standing up to. They are too far gone. You can see them from a mile away. It’s a waist of time.
Nice catch. Thanks
I'll pass. This psycho babble sounds like something out of the Regimes reeducation handbook. A lot of the term "Extremist" being used which invariably is code for Conservatives or Tea Party types. Just in case, I had better throw this down. IBTZ.
(I always shoot to be the first, but rarely succeed.)
To the contrary, I think you missed my point - that I can see you a mile away.
Thanks for playing.
‘waist’ of time....
I changed my mind , about your literary skills, in about one second.
Do I get a prize ?
One word. Vagisil
It is either Brian Tracy or Dennis Waitley that compares the conscious mind to the subconscious as a golf ball attached to a basketball, respectively.
It helped me to give myself a LOT more than a second on a regular basis. And as they also say, it is why, if you are thinking of buying a red sports car, you suddenly see them everywhere. What you think about actually controls what you see and how you interpret the world around you.
Do you have your hands around a girl’s waist? What a waste!
—I think you missed the point. There are some people that are just not worth standing up to. They are too far gone.—
Or, as the Bible says, “shake the dust off your feet as a testamony against them.”
You subtracted all values from the evaluation process, and limited a value-evaluation process to neurophysiological responses alone. Yet you exhibit far more intelligence in you presentation than would allow such a mistake without notice. Ergo, it's setup.
What's the difference - in your assessment model - between a man smashing a window in rage at Starbucks because his latte isn't hot enough, and... a man smashing a window in rage because he has to escape from his burning cockpit as his plane in in a plunging dive?
Nothing, in your model. Identical neurophysiological responses under stress, generating emotional split-second anger behavior.
But you post your model on a website that is dedicated to what? Value-based decisions.
LOL. Like I said, thanks for playing.
I really like those Dodge Challengers (I just watche Vanishing Point again yesterday) but I consider them ticket magnets. No way, no how, would I bother. Now, a nice small two seater convertible, that’s different.
But I think I am a bit off topic here.
“a man smashing a window in rage because he has to escape from his burning cockpit as his plane in in a plunging dive?
Nothing, in your model. Identical neurophysiological responses under stress, generating emotional split-second anger behavior. “
Rage and anger are two totally different emotions. Rage requires a ton of energy and lasts for seconds. Anger requires less energy and can be felt for extended periods of time. Rage is the very last phase after countless attempts to stop the threat.
Your analogy is an individual who is obviously unstable. Abnormal physiology and psychology is another animal all together.