The following is an excerpt from Martha Henriques | July 13, 2018 | BBC.com |
We like to think we’d do the right thing in a tough situation. We’d stand up to our boss when necessary, step in if we saw someone being bullied, and say no if we were asked to do something we felt was wrong. It’s tempting to think we have an innate moral compass that guides our actions, even under pressure from others.
In reality, however, most of us are remarkably bad at standing up to authority. New research is revealing why this is, giving us insight into how the brain deals with – or fails to deal with – these difficult situations. Ultimately, the research could show us how we can train ourselves to become stronger-minded and better able to stick to our guns when needed.
In experiments by social neuroscientist Emilie Caspar at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, volunteers gave each other electric shocks. (The research follows in the footsteps of the notorious experiments of Stanley Milgram in the 1960s, but in a more ethically and scientifically rigorous way.)
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