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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Oct 16;109(42):17058-62. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1205828109. Epub 2012 Sep 24.

Selectively altering belief formation in the human brain.

Author information

1
Department of Cognitive, Perceptual, and Brain Sciences, University College London, London WC1 H0AP, United Kingdom. t.sharot@ucl.ac.uk

Abstract

Humans form beliefs asymmetrically; we tend to discount bad news but embrace good news. This reduced impact of unfavorable information on belief updating may have important societal implications, including the generation of financial market bubbles, ill preparedness in the face of natural disasters, and overly aggressive medical decisions. Here, we selectively improved people's tendency to incorporate bad news into their beliefs by disrupting the function of the left (but not right) inferior frontal gyrus using transcranial magnetic stimulation, thereby eliminating the engrained "good news/bad news effect." Our results provide an instance of how selective disruption of regional human brain function paradoxically enhances the ability to incorporate unfavorable information into beliefs of vulnerability.

PMID:
23011798
PMCID:
PMC3479523
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1205828109
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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