How Humans Predict the Behavior of People with Different Values

To live in society, we must predict how other people will make decisions. Japanese scientists are beginning to reveal how the brain does that, potentially improving our social systems. 

What's the Latest Development?


In our everyday personal and professional lives, it is essential that we predict what decisions others will make and how they will behave. Researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan have uncovered the brain processes by which humans learn to understand the values of others and use this information to predict their decision-making behavior. Using fMRI scans, researchers found that "humans simulate the decisions of other people using two brain signals encoded in the prefrontal cortex, an area responsible for higher cognition."

What's the Big Idea?

"Learning another person's values and mental processes is often assumed to require simulation of the other's mind: using one's own familiar mental processes to simulate unfamiliar processes in the mind of the other." For individuals with values similar to our own, the brain fires a "reward signal" that allows us to simulate another's mind. For individuals with different values, a separate "action signal" is necessary, which allows us to translate the simulation into a projected outcome. "Ultimately, this knowledge could help improving political, educational, and social systems in human societies."

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

26 ultra-rich people own as much as the world's 3.8 billion poorest

The Oxfam report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency."

Getty Images and Wikimedia Commons
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new report by Oxfam argues that wealth inequality is causing poverty and misery around the world.
  • In the last year, the world's billionaires saw their wealth increase by 12%, while the poorest 3.8 billion people on the planet lost 11% of their wealth.
  • The report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency." We explain what Steven Pinker's got to do with it.
Keep reading Show less

People who constantly complain are harmful to your health

Moans, groans, and gripes release stress hormones in the brain.

Photo credit: Getty Images / Stringer
popular

Could you give up complaining for a whole month? That's the crux of this interesting piece by Jessica Hullinger over at Fast Company. Hullinger explores the reasons why humans are so predisposed to griping and why, despite these predispositions, we should all try to complain less. As for no complaining for a month, that was the goal for people enrolled in the Complaint Restraint project.

Participants sought to go the entirety of February without so much as a moan, groan, or bellyache.

Keep reading Show less
Videos
  • Facebook and Google began as companies with supposedly noble purposes.
  • Creating a more connected world and indexing the world's information: what could be better than that?
  • But pressure to return value to shareholders came at the expense of their own users.
Keep reading Show less