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Selectively altering belief formation in the human brain.

OPEN Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | 27 Sep 2012

T Sharot, R Kanai, D Marston, CW Korn, G Rees and RJ Dolan
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.
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Concepts
Natural selection, Inferior frontal gyrus, Transcranial magnetic stimulation, Brain, Neuroanatomy, Religion, Frontal lobe, Human brain
MeSH headings
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