Have you ever thought one thing and done another?Have you ever changed your mind when in a group that had different ideas?
I know I have and it made me feel like a wimp.
Being an HSP means that my positions are not the norm, and I am always seeking ways to bridge the difference. Often that cannot be done and I feel bad when that is the case.
I am an introvert but I still care about people and relationships. So where does the need to conform against our best instincts come from?
According to an article in Spero Forum, researcher Vasily Klucharev of Erasmus University in the Netherlands, conducted a study which demonstrated that “when people hold an opinion differing from others in a group, their brains produce an error signal.”
“If you make an error, if means that something [wrong is going on]. And, whenever we experience an error, it means this error signal pushes us to change behavior,” Klucharev said. “And, we see it looks like we quite automatically produce this signal when our opinion is quite different from other people.”
“The researcher examined two brain areas,” said Klucharev. “The first, a zone of the brain popularly called the ‘oops area,’ becomes extra active signaling an error; while the ‘reward area”‘is less active, making people think they made a mistake.” This explains why people are likely to conform and why in doing so they are responding to what their brain is telling them even if their instincts or “better nature” tells them something else.
This research tells us a lot. It explains why:
- people act against their better judgment
- people are afraid of differences
- people are afraid of what they perceive to be dangerous mindsets
- people are more afraid of being different that the pain of giving up their authenticity.
This research also suggests that we need to be extremely mindful about what we allow group norms to become because there are serious consequences if those norms are destructive.
Even when serious harm is being done it takes huge courage to protest group norms. If an individual has enough group support, their courage is easier. If not, their courage is remarkable.
The constitutional provision for freedom of speech does not overrule our brains and how they operate. The recognition by humans that we need others to survive needs to be given great care. Our brains have developed to support that social necessity. So we do great harm if we ignore the impact that comes from having our brains at odds with our best interest because social norms are misdirected.
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