about the episode
Some of the choices we make are good for us, but not good for others. Some of them are less useful to us, but better for others. How do we deal with making these choices?
Might we learn to ignore negative consequences when we make selfish choices? Or are we making these choices very consciously?
To find out the answer, Dutch researchers conducted an experiment. Subjects always had to choose between two symbols. One of them was 80 percent sure that he would get a huge cash prize, but he also delivered a painful shock to another test subject with 80 percent certainty. The second code resulted in a lower score in 80 percent of cases, but also resulted in a much less painful shock.
Not unexpectedly, after it became clearer about the consequences of their choices, there were both people who still primarily chose one symbol and people who primarily chose the other. But what they wanted to know was: what goes on in the heads of people who are primarily interested in profit? Are they consciously or unconsciously shutting off something in order to deal with this?
What they found was that these people remained aware of the fact that this had negative consequences for others. They can see this through activity in the area of the brain where other people’s pain is processed. Just keep going. Not very useful if your main goal is profit.
Researchers say the reason this isn’t suppressed is likely so we can respond quickly to changes in conditions. If they remove the financial incentive, this group also turns to another, less painful code. usually after that.
The researchers now want to know what happens in the brains of people who exhibit a lot of antisocial behavior in their daily lives.
Read more here: How do we deal with morally contradictory results?
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