Saturday, 3 September 2011
A drug like this would bring about a political revolution. It is blind conformity to Establishment norms that keeps the current corrupt system in place.
The researchers found they were able to control whether volunteers conformed to social pressure by using powerful electromagnetic pulses that changed the activity of a small part of the brain.

Volunteers whose posterior medial frontal cortex, an area in the middle of the brain that is associated with reward processing, were exposed to the magnetic pulses suffered reduced levels of conformity.

The researchers believe this part of the brain dates back a long way in the evolution of animals and is responsible or automatically "correcting" our performance when we fall out of line with a group.

They say that by suspending this mechanism, it allows people to think and behave differently. They now believe it may be possible to develop drugs or behaviour changing techniques that could increase or decrease people's conformity.

Dr Vasily Klucharev, a neuroscientist who led the research at the Radboud University Nijmegen, in Holland, said: "People can try to reduce conformity in certain situations, especially when they know about negative consequences of group pressure such as criminal behaviour, propaganda or aggressive marketing.

"Right now we can search for behavioural techniques that modulate activity of the posterior medial frontal cortex without any physical intervention. Hopefully, with help of these techniques someone would be able to partly immune themselves to 'group pressure'.

"Drug manipulation of dopamine could also affect conformity."
Source: Telegraph

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