memory

Scientific explanation behind the brainwashing power of social conformity

Thursday, January 17, 2013 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: brainwashing, social conformity, peer pressure

eTrust Pro Certified

Most Viewed Articles
Popular on Facebook
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 now clearly a government cover-up: All evidence contradicts official story
White House admits staging fake vaccination operation to gather DNA from the public
10 other companies that use the same Subway yoga mat chemical in their buns
High-dose vitamin C injections shown to annihilate cancer
Irrefutable proof we are all being sprayed with poison: 571 tons of toxic lead 'chemtrailed' into America's skies every year
EXCLUSIVE: Natural News tests flu vaccine for heavy metals, finds 25,000 times higher mercury level than EPA limit for water
Truvia sweetener a powerful pesticide; scientists shocked as fruit flies die in less than a week from eating GMO-derived erythritol
Senator who attacked Doctor Oz over dietary supplements received over $146,000 in campaign contributions from Big Pharma mega-retailer and Monsanto
Global warming data FAKED by government to fit climate change fictions
U.S. treating meat with ammonia, bleach and antibiotics to kill the '24-hour sickness'
HOAX confirmed: Michelle Obama 'GMOs for children' campaign a parody of modern agricultural politics
Ben and Jerry's switches to non-GMO, Fair Trade ice cream ingredients
Battle for humanity nearly lost: global food supply deliberately engineered to end life, not nourish it
Diet soda, aspartame linked to premature deaths in women
Cannabis kicks Lyme disease to the curb
Elliot Rodger, like nearly all young killers, was taking psychiatric drugs (Xanax)
Harvard research links fluoridated water to ADHD, mental disorders
Right to farm being stripped from Americans: Michigan to criminalize small family farms with chickens, goats, honey bees and more
Delicious
(NaturalNews) Human beings are social creatures, but revealing new evidence shows that this quality is not always beneficial.

A study published last year in the journal Science found that when a person is pressured by peers, they have a tendency to form false memories and can convince themselves of different recollections of the past in order to fit what others insist is the truth.

"Human memory is strikingly susceptible to social influences, yet we know little about the underlying mechanisms," said an abstract of the study.

"We examined how socially induced memory errors are generated in the brain by studying the memory of individuals exposed to recollections of others. Participants exhibited a strong tendency to conform to erroneous recollections of the group, producing both long-lasting and temporary errors, even when their initial memory was strong and accurate," the abstract said. "Our findings reveal how social manipulation can alter memory and extend the known functions of the amygdala to encompass socially mediated memory distortions."

Peer pressure convinced people they were wrong

Participants in the study watched a movie in groups, and then were questioned individually about the film afterward. Four days later, participants were questioned once more.

Researchers said that 70 percent of the time study participants changed their recollection of the film to match incorrect memories held by the others in their group, a finding that held true even for questions participants had initially felt very strongly that they had answered correctly.

Scientists involved in the study called these lapses "socially induced memory errors" because they discovered conclusive evidence that the group caused the change in answers.

"Participants were hooked up to an MRI while answering questions, and their hippocampus and amygdala lit up when changing their answers after being told the group's memory differed from theirs, but not when a computer told them they were wrong. In other words, peer pressure convinced people they were wrong, as opposed to cold facts," said an analysis of the study by The Raw Story.

In half of the memory errors, the false memory replaced the person's initial, true memory.

As pointed out by Mother Jones magazine, the study's results could explain why poll numbers indicate extraordinarily high levels of support for statements like "Obama is a Muslim" and "Obama is not a U.S. citizen" - statements that are demonstrably and provably false but which are vocally supported by several groups and media outlets.

Prior to this study there had already been evidence suggesting that people were very willing to change their stories, even if they knew they were true, due to social pressure. What makes the most recent study, by lead researcher Micah Edelson, an Israeli scientist, unique "is he used an MRI scanner while people were answering interviewers' questions," Mother Jones' Jen Quraishi wrote.

Edelson found that study participants' hippocampi and amygdales indicated activity only when people changed answers to match those shared by their viewing group. But if they were told to change their answers by a computer, their hippocampi and amygdales did not activate; the hippocampus is associated with memory; the amygdale is linked to emotion.

Not always a bad thing

"Our memory is surprisingly susceptible to social influences," Edelson said during a July 2011 podcast. This could be cause for concern to some people, he said, because "studies have shown that...[witnesses] often discuss crime details with each other before testifying, and this can definitely have an influence on court cases."

Subsequent studies have indicated that toddlers, too, may also give into peer pressure.

Researchers reported that 2-year-olds are more likely influenced to copy the actions of three other toddlers than if they saw the same actions carried out by just one other toddler, according to a report by HealthDay.

That said, peer pressure sensitivity needn't always be negative.

"The tendency to acquire the behaviors of the majority has been posited as key to the transmission of relatively safe, reliable and productive behavioral strategies," said researcher Daniel Haun, of the Max Planck Institutes of Evolutionary Anthropology and Psycholinguistics in Germany and the Netherlands.

Sources:

www.sciencemag.org/content/333/6038/108.abstract

http://www.naturalnews.com/033059_peer_pressure_memories.html

http://abcnewsradioonline.com/health-news/tag/peer-pressure

Join over four million monthly readers. Your privacy is protected. Unsubscribe at any time.
comments powered by Disqus
Take Action: Support NaturalNews.com by linking back to this article from your website

Permalink to this article:

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):

Reprinting this article:
Non-commercial use OK, cite NaturalNews.com with clickable link.

Follow Natural News on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

GET SHOW DETAILS
+ a FREE GIFT

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source: Alexa.com)

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.