Zombie humanity

It has long been known that our decisions are often influenced by external factors. Perhaps chief among them is the people, but rather people who are literally programmed us with: television, sound, speech, gestures …

Do you want to transfer money to the pension fund? Nothing, that will get magnetic discharge in the brain and immediately want! Or maybe you are too intractable in the elections and refuse to put a cross next to the "right" candidates? The problem is solved as well. Smacks of conspiracy theory? Well, yes and no.

Scientists have hit upon in our head area, acting on which you can make out of conformist non-conformist, just to make the time to compromise its principles … All this is reminiscent of a scary sci-fi thriller, but, alas, it is already a reality. At least, that such a conclusion is primarily arises when you meet a new area of science — neuroeconomics, originated in Switzerland and the University of Basel. However, one of the faculty and staff of this respected academic institution Basil Klyucharev do not agree with such a radical point of view. He was able to identify a new direction for humanity science positive moments.

So, what is there hidden in our brain? Previously, it has been looked like a normal body — remember the lessons of anatomy. But in the early twenty-first century, it turns out that it can generate thoughts and regulate behavior! After studying this mechanism, it can be an ideal society, get rid of the criminals and drug addicts. Today, neuroscientists already know the mechanism by which improves memory, applying the principles of the nervous system to control robots. Two years ago, the "MK" wrote that at the Research Center of Neurology developed a system of activation of neurons of the brain in people who are blind, so they could see without eyes, the momentum, which is derived from the implanted electrodes into the brain …

But while Neurocybernetics controlled robots that are useful for myself have seen moments in neuroscience and economists. What if the consumer brain research to better understand its behavior? — They decided. After all, so you can understand the desire to drive the rest of us and what centers of the brain are involved in the course of our daily economic activity: from the purchase of goods to the decision to invest in a private pension fund. Thus was born the symbiosis — neuroeconomics.

— So, Basil, how it all started and how is it that you are interested in this weird science?

— Strange it seems at first glance. I have always been fascinated to study the nature of decision-making. This is basic research, which combine to achieve economics, psychology and other disciplines. Neurobiology explains our solutions by analyzing the activity of neurons in the brain. For example, a person suffering from obesity, it is necessary to stick to the diet. But whether he will follow the advice of a doctor? We can try to find out about it, bringing to a specific part of the brain responsible for decision-making, sensors, which detect the activity of brain cells. Also, I was always interested to know what mechanism causes a person to fall under the influence of others. In general, we were engaged in purely basic research, the nature of human behavior.

— And then you took in turnover economists …

— It turns out that too many years economists have studied the nature of decision-making, however, they are mainly interested in the behavior of people in the course of financial transactions: when investing money, create a retirement savings or shopping in the supermarkets, the motives that compel consumers to choose a particular product. And they studied the behavior of these puzzles, relying solely on mathematical, linear calculations and psychological model based on the assumption that people are rational and predictable. However, more than ten years ago, the famous psychologist Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel laureate in economics, has proved that people are not always rational, capable of illogical behavior and therefore is non-linear. Here economists and needed help neuroscientists us to help understand the complex device brain potential investor or buyer.

— You said that the man is sometimes unpredictable. Give an example of mind games, which had a chance encounter psychologists and economists.

— One of the mysteries, for example, is that people do not like to put off retirement. Neuroeconomics studies have shown that the prefrontal area of the frontal cortex of the brain is, the zone of rational decision-making, a "zone of self-control." And good control herself she is actively working on the emotional background. But there appears little. When the organizers of the lottery winners offer a choice: get 50 million now, or 100 million in equal installments over 10 years, the majority of them choose 50 million now. After all, the farther the point in time of pleasure, the less fun it attracts us.

The New Science of Neuroeconomics and directed by helping to correct these solutions, especially in patients with certain disorders who can pull all the money in one hour. For example, we can try to "influence" the magnetic field in the area of decision-making and citizen will actively control their behavior.

— Magnetic field … in the brain?

— Do not worry, I gave an example, we put such experiments are now only in the laboratory. And basically in transcranial magnetic stimulation there is nothing to worry about. The device is a spool of wire. It is run by fast current, resulting in a strong magnetic field, its narrow beam. It is directed to a specific region of the brain and act from one to 30 minutes. Ideally, one does not feel anything, except in the impact zone of the field muscles may twitch involuntarily. Something like this already, by the way, is being developed for the military in the United States. If I am not mistaken, this is the helmet with magnetic brain stimulation. What can they stimulate there, I do not know.

— And after this correction, the person will always remain skopidomom?

— No. Effect of a single magnetic effect on the brain usually lasts from 30 minutes to 1 hour. Here is another example of irrational from the point of view of classical economics behavior. Two of the subjects we offered to play a game of "Ultimatum." One gave $ 100 that he had to share with a partner. And currently it can take 99, and a colleague to give a dollar. In turn, the last player had the right to give up their share, if deemed unfair to divide, and in this case, the money did not reach anyone.

As shown by experiments carried out at the Universities of Basel and Zurich, the players began to abandon the "legitimate" shares as soon as they saw the injustice. Perhaps this concept is embedded in our social nature, but the economists with their "rational" concepts are very difficult to understand. After all, with their "linear" point of view, take at least a dollar is better than being left with nothing … But neuroeconomists found that when the amount of unfair offers in the brains of subjects activated neurons certain emotional area. At the time of the decision to refuse the money activity becomes even more — it can only be compared to that which occurs when pain or disgust. By the way, the same sense of justice and a monkey show.

— And that feeling is also possible to suppress the magnetic blow?

— Yes, for a short time, you can get people to agree with the unfair division of money.

— It turns out that the person is easy to make a puppet, making decisions against his principles?

— In the laboratory, you can influence the decision-making rights with neurobiological methods. But this process is very laborious and complicated. And to some extent in much larger quantities it is now doing is using commercials that played on the TV. People who are prone to conformism, suggestion and maintained on them very quickly. For neuroeconomics is much more important to understand the fundamental mechanisms of these manipulations. This will help us to better control themselves and better understand the impact on us. We are just beginning such research, but theoretically already neurobiological method can even try to make out of conformist non-conformist, and vice versa.

I agree with everyone, but only for an hour

— And where is the intractability of our area or vice versa?

— Zone involvement in conformity lies exactly in the middle meridian of the brain. By the way, this area can be activated and chemical methods. There is a substance dopamine, which is contained in our brain, including in the area. Danish scientists have recently discovered: the more it is, the more people the principal, pliable, and vice versa.

On the other hand, can also affect our trusting simple spray. Roughly speaking, if pshiknut hormone oxytocin into the nose, then the person at a time increases the degree of confidence in others and the fear goes away. Encouraged by these findings, the discoverers of this effect have been advertising it as a panacea for increasing trust and social harmony, but soon broke off. In the Netherlands, the study of the influence of oxytocin, it was found that the "hormone of social peace and trust," as he dubbed, improves human relations only in their social group. To the same group of people outside who exploited spray oxytocin became extremely suspicious and aggressive.

— I suspect that savvy businessmen of the supermarkets are already rubbing their hands to use any of the proposed science tools in their sales areas and increase the sales of some stale goods.

— There were some requests, but the answer did not satisfy them. The fact that the effects of oxytocin on a large group of customers would require so much that it was necessary to create in the store of the cloud of the present substance.

— So, thank God, to go order us not make.

— Yes, this is unlikely, at least for now it is almost unfeasible.

— Well, basically? Here is the ruling party wants to vote for all of its candidate …

— To address the brain from a distance will not work — directed beam of electromagnetic waves is strong only when the immediate approach to the brain, as well as the distance from the object very quickly waning. But there is a slow but sure mechanism, which eventually will help the opposition. If they are organized and systematically will come to the polls with loud slogans, then gradually to win over the doubters. Changing preferences emerge as a snowball in the direction of the active opposition of the majority of the visible. When a person sees that his opinion differs from the opinion of a large group of people, he unknowingly changes his mind, because in the brain at the level of neuronal signal turns on, "My previous conviction — a mistake!". It is in our evolution — the ancient people could survive only together.

— But why is the current rally is not a wholly different turnout Muscovites?

— Because we are shown on TV the other "most" comfortable with the authorities, and as a result, our brains are always fighting two views.

"Our freedom — it is an illusion"

— Not so long ago, American neuroeconomists University of Oregon's got a very interesting result by examining the nature of the charity — says Klyucharev. — As a model, took the European system of donations from citizens taken immediately to taxes, and the American volunteer. Proimitirovav different situations in the scanner, they realized that the most positively stained emotional response is just a voluntary donation.

— What if the zone further encourage philanthropy, we give the donations of all his property? So, probably, are the Gypsies ….

— It is not a separate "charity center" in the brain, and that notorious pleasure center, which is activated when we engage in charity. Stimulation of it can cause serious side effects, such as high-risk behavior associated with the disappearance of the concept of self-control and self-preservation. So, as you can see, the game is very dangerous to the brain.

— Well, if everyone will adhere to such a view, but I doubt that we will not let the genie out of the jar.

— Modern neuroscience technology and motives of our behavior are so complex and confusing that in the coming decades, we will not be able with reasonable accuracy to manipulate people. Moreover, in modern Western universities, such experiments are under the strict control of the ethics commissions.

— But does not change whether neuroeconomics our ideas about their own freedom?

— By and large, we all are not free. The concept of freedom of choice — it's a myth, I am more and more convinced. Here you believe in the cause-and-effect relationship?

— Well, yes.

— And I believe. This means that what is inherent in us at birth: genetic set, the activity of neurons in a particular region of the brain — the whole thing (with the specific conditions of the environment in which we grow) will eventually lead to a predictable result. Refute it — still the possibility that the expected fall of the Tower of Pisa in the opposite direction from its slope. It is tilted slowly but surely coming to the ground, and the other can not be. Exactly the same processes occur to us: the mechanism is started. In this regard, I am, although not religious, I agree with the Protestants, the main dogma of predestination which is everything.

— But the same happens in our lives surprises. For example, parents-alcoholics are born simply exemplary children.

— And this is also due to genetics, neurons and specific social environment. Here, in my opinion, there is no free choice. We do not know who it was from a child inherits the positive features — maybe it was his grandmother or grandfather. Then they met on the way a good teacher, and following a specific activity of the brain, they have chosen the right path in life. I like it in this case, the statement of Spinoza: "A man deceives himself, speaking about freedom. He just does not know the real causes of their behavior. "

— Well, is there any advantages in your science to the common man?

— Of course, there is. Knowing how we can influence on the merchants, advertisers, bankers, we can resist it.

— How?

— Rule number 1. Do not fall for the promises of a beautiful, loud statements in advertisements. They are almost always embellish goods. Rule number 2. Do not let TV influence your opinion about politics, judge them for. During the powers that be not supernatural, but because they vote the same yardstick as a locksmith in your DEZe.

— What if a year or two we will start to process the "neuroeconomics means," we will be able to see it somehow, to feel?

— Unpretentious prototypes of special gadgets are emerging, for example there are iPhones that read brain activity, headphones against winter depression. But they are not dangerous, their goal — to register the brain (such as your mood) and act on the brain to good use. Most likely neuroeconomics methods will never be used for a wide audience, but may find its application in the field-testing marketing campaigns, optimize customer service. The only cause for some concern, it neuroeconomics research on genetic predispositions to certain decisions.

Access to our genetic information can be used wrongly, for example, health insurance companies. In the future, they can easily increase the size of the premium a person with a genetic predisposition to engage in risky behavior. Therefore, initiatives about the total collection of genetic information, such as coming from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, should be under strict public control.

So, once again convinced that everything has a downside: the genetics of the disease being treated, but they can wrap up against the knowledge of patients. Neuroscientists create robot assistants, but with their help savvy marketers can in no time you go bankrupt. In general, remember that our main trump card over all cunning neuroscience — that is our innate sense of justice for all, thanks to which we give up on the dollar is better than accept the unfair carve-up.

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