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Study Shows Brain Responds More To Close Friends

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the birds-of-a-feather dept.

Science 66

An anonymous reader writes "People's brains are more responsive to friends than to strangers, even if the stranger has more in common, according to a study in the Oct. 13 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. Researchers examined a brain region known to be involved in processing social information, and the results suggest that social alliances outweigh shared interests. In a study led by graduate student Fenna Krienen and senior author Randy Buckner, PhD, of Harvard University, researchers investigated how the medial prefrontal cortex and associated brain regions signal someone's value in a social situation. Previous work has shown that perceptions of others' beliefs guide social interactions. Krienen and her colleagues wondered whether these brain regions respond more to those we know, or to those with whom we share similar interests."

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Missing info (5, Insightful)

Apocryphos (1222870) | more than 3 years ago | (#33887954)

And even more to rivals and enemies

Re:Missing info (0, Flamebait)

MichaelKristopeit 23 (1916796) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888058)

the researchers would have you believe those individuals are only your rivals and enemies because they are rivals and enemies of your shared alliances, or you have no common interests.

leave it to harvard students to ignore the concept of "dislike"

Re:Missing info (2, Informative)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888362)

Sorry to have to break it to you, but jokes about Facebook are too subtle for Slashdot.

For people who missed it, the founder of Facebook is from Harvard, and there's a long-running complaint among Facebook users that there should be a "dislike" button, basically the same as the like button in terms of showing camaraderie with the poster, but applied to a negative post.

Re:Missing info (0, Flamebait)

Michael D Kristopeit (1887500) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888538)

sorry to have to break it to you, but there is an alliance devoted to defaming me. they stoop so low as to register users sharing my given name... such as "MichaelKristopeit 16" and "Mikey Kristopeity"... they post racial hatred in my name. they pool moderation points and down-mod all of my comments as "troll" or "off topic".

i'm glad some individuals like you still exist... but as i'm implying, and you're understanding, there are high power organizations that exist that refuse to acknowledge very obvious things... soon after they begin acting to silence those who would publicly acknowledge and broadcast such things.

slashdot = stagnated

Re:Missing info (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33889800)

Michael David Kistopeit here again, I am posting AC just in the case this comment get modded up, it will not ruin my negative karma.

I post under at least the following Slashdot accounts listed by order of Slashdot ID number:

1751814 http://slashdot.org/~Michael+Kristopeit [slashdot.org]
1887500 http://slashdot.org/~Michael+D+Kristopeit [slashdot.org]
1890086 http://slashdot.org/~Michael+D+Kristopeit [slashdot.org]
1890764 http://slashdot.org/~M.+D.+Kristopeit [slashdot.org]
1892492 http://slashdot.org/~Kristopeit%2C+Michael [slashdot.org]
1892582 http://slashdot.org/~Kristopeit%2C+M.+D. [slashdot.org]
1900306 http://slashdot.org/~Mike+Kristopeit [slashdot.org]
1900570 http://slashdot.org/~Kristopeit%2C+Mike+D. [slashdot.org]
1905338 http://slashdot.org/~Mike+Da.+Kristopeit [slashdot.org]
1905342 http://slashdot.org/~Kristopeit%2C+Mike+Da. [slashdot.org]
1905518 http://slashdot.org/~Kristopeit%2CMichaelDa [slashdot.org]
1913240 http://slashdot.org/~Mike+Davi+Kristopeit [slashdot.org]
1913310 http://slashdot.org/~Michael+Kristopeit+2 [slashdot.org]
1913312 http://slashdot.org/~Michael+Kristopeit+3 [slashdot.org]
1913314 http://slashdot.org/~Michael+Kristopeit+4 [slashdot.org]
1913316 http://slashdot.org/~Michael+Kristopeit+5 [slashdot.org]
1913320 http://slashdot.org/~Michael+Kristopeit+6 [slashdot.org]
1913324 http://slashdot.org/~Michael+Kristopeit+8 [slashdot.org]
1913326 http://slashdot.org/~Michael+Kristopeit+9 [slashdot.org]
1913328 http://slashdot.org/~Michael+Kristopeit+1 [slashdot.org]
1915954 http://slashdot.org/~Mike+Kristopeit+9 [slashdot.org]
1916064 http://slashdot.org/~Mike+Kristopeit+16 [slashdot.org]

My hobbies include:

Trolling Slashdot
Flaming Slashdot
Making new Slashdot accounts
Only using capitols for emphasis

My favorite catch-phrases:

ur mum's face is...
idiot
coward
straighten out your dick, pee hook.
you are NOTHING
slashdot = stagnated

Please expect further abuse in the future, pee hook.

Re:Missing info (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33899682)

sorry to have to break it to you, but that list is woefully incomplete.

442064 http://slashdot.org/~edrugtrader [slashdot.org] 1710534 http://slashdot.org/~madddddddddd [slashdot.org]
1751814 http://slashdot.org/~Michael+Kristopeit [slashdot.org] 1887500 http://slashdot.org/~Michael+D+Kristopeit [slashdot.org]
1890086 http://slashdot.org/~M.+D.+Kristopeit [slashdot.org] 1890764 http://slashdot.org/~M.+Kristopeit [slashdot.org]
1892492 http://slashdot.org/~Kristopeit,+Michael [slashdot.org] 1892582 http://slashdot.org/~Kristopeit,+M.+D. [slashdot.org]
1900306 http://slashdot.org/~Mike+Kristopeit [slashdot.org] 1900568 http://slashdot.org/~Mike+D.+Kristopeit [slashdot.org]
1900570 http://slashdot.org/~Kristopeit,+Mike+D. [slashdot.org] 1905312 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelDavKristopeit [slashdot.org]
1905334 http://slashdot.org/~Mike+Dav.+Kristopeit [slashdot.org] 1905336 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelDa.Kristopeit [slashdot.org]
1905338 http://slashdot.org/~Mike+Da.+Kristopeit [slashdot.org] 1905342 http://slashdot.org/~Kristopeit,+Mike+Da. [slashdot.org]
1905452 http://slashdot.org/~Kristopeit,+Mike [slashdot.org] 1905462 http://slashdot.org/~Kristopeit,+Mike+Dav [slashdot.org]
1905518 http://slashdot.org/~Kristopeit,MichaelDa [slashdot.org] 1913240 http://slashdot.org/~Mike+Davi+Kristopeit [slashdot.org]
1913310 http://slashdot.org/~Michael+Kristopeit+2 [slashdot.org] 1913312 http://slashdot.org/~Michael+Kristopeit+3 [slashdot.org]
1913314 http://slashdot.org/~Michael+Kristopeit+4 [slashdot.org] 1913316 http://slashdot.org/~Michael+Kristopeit+5 [slashdot.org]
1913320 http://slashdot.org/~Michael+Kristopeit+6 [slashdot.org] 1913322 http://slashdot.org/~Michael+Kristopeit+7 [slashdot.org]
1913324 http://slashdot.org/~Michael+Kristopeit+8 [slashdot.org] 1913326 http://slashdot.org/~Michael+Kristopeit+9 [slashdot.org]
1913328 http://slashdot.org/~Michael+Kristopeit+1 [slashdot.org] 1915938 http://slashdot.org/~Mike+Kristopeit+1 [slashdot.org]
1915940 http://slashdot.org/~Mike+Kristopeit+2 [slashdot.org] 1915942 http://slashdot.org/~Mike+Kristopeit+3 [slashdot.org]
1915944 http://slashdot.org/~Mike+Kristopeit+4 [slashdot.org] 1915946 http://slashdot.org/~Mike+Kristopeit+5 [slashdot.org]
1915948 http://slashdot.org/~Mike+Kristopeit+6 [slashdot.org] 1915950 http://slashdot.org/~Mike+Kristopeit+7 [slashdot.org]
1915952 http://slashdot.org/~Mike+Kristopeit+8 [slashdot.org] 1915954 http://slashdot.org/~Mike+Kristopeit+9 [slashdot.org]
1916008 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+10 [slashdot.org] 1916010 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+11 [slashdot.org]
1916012 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+12 [slashdot.org] 1916014 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+13 [slashdot.org]
1916016 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+14 [slashdot.org] 1916018 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+15 [slashdot.org]
1916052 http://slashdot.org/~Mike+Kristopeit+10 [slashdot.org] 1916054 http://slashdot.org/~Mike+Kristopeit+11 [slashdot.org]
1916056 http://slashdot.org/~Mike+Kristopeit+12 [slashdot.org] 1916058 http://slashdot.org/~Mike+Kristopeit+13 [slashdot.org]
1916060 http://slashdot.org/~Mike+Kristopeit+14 [slashdot.org] 1916062 http://slashdot.org/~Mike+Kristopeit+15 [slashdot.org]
1916064 http://slashdot.org/~Mike+Kristopeit+16 [slashdot.org] 1916662 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+17 [slashdot.org]
1916664 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+18 [slashdot.org] 1916668 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+19 [slashdot.org]
1916670 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+20 [slashdot.org] 1916794 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+22 [slashdot.org]
1916796 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+23 [slashdot.org] 1916798 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+24 [slashdot.org]
1916800 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+25 [slashdot.org] 1916930 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+26 [slashdot.org]
1916932 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+27 [slashdot.org] 1916934 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+28 [slashdot.org]
1916936 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+29 [slashdot.org] 1916938 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+30 [slashdot.org]
1917428 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+31 [slashdot.org] 1917430 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+32 [slashdot.org]
1917432 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+33 [slashdot.org] 1917436 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+34 [slashdot.org]
1917440 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+35 [slashdot.org] 1917442 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+36 [slashdot.org]
1917444 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+37 [slashdot.org] 1917446 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+38 [slashdot.org]
1917448 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+39 [slashdot.org] 1917548 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+40 [slashdot.org]
1917550 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+41 [slashdot.org] 1917552 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+42 [slashdot.org]
1917554 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+43 [slashdot.org] 1919584 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+44 [slashdot.org]
1919586 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+45 [slashdot.org] 1919588 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+46 [slashdot.org]
1919590 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+47 [slashdot.org] 1919592 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+48 [slashdot.org]
1919594 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+49 [slashdot.org] 1919596 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+50 [slashdot.org]
1920208 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+51 [slashdot.org] 1920212 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+52 [slashdot.org]
1920214 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+53 [slashdot.org] 1920216 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+54 [slashdot.org]
1920218 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+55 [slashdot.org] 1920220 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+56 [slashdot.org]
1920222 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+57 [slashdot.org] 1920224 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+58 [slashdot.org]
1920226 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+59 [slashdot.org] 1920228 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+60 [slashdot.org]
1920330 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+69 [slashdot.org] 1920332 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+68 [slashdot.org]
1920334 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+67 [slashdot.org] 1920336 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+66 [slashdot.org]
1920338 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+65 [slashdot.org] 1920340 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+64 [slashdot.org]
1920342 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+63 [slashdot.org] 1920344 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+62 [slashdot.org]
1920346 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+61 [slashdot.org] 1920348 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+70 [slashdot.org]
1921158 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+80 [slashdot.org] 1921160 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+81 [slashdot.org]
1921164 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+82 [slashdot.org] 1921166 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+83 [slashdot.org]
1921170 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+84 [slashdot.org] 1921172 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+85 [slashdot.org]
1921174 http://slashdot.org/~MichaelKristopeit+86 [slashdot.org]

That's what some stranger on Slashdot told me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33887960)

But I'm going to wait until I hear it from one of my friends... if only I had friends.

Re:That's what some stranger on Slashdot told me (1)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33889966)

I'll be your friend, if you want.

Re:That's what some stranger on Slashdot told me (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33892358)

No, he'll be your FAN if you want.

As to TFS: "People's brains are more responsive to friends than to strangers, even if the stranger has more in common"

How would I know if a stranger had anything in common with me? Without reading TFA, this sounds like one of those DUH studies, like a study proving water is wet when it's not frozen. They might as well do a study seeing if heterosexual men's brains are more responsive to woman than they are to men.

Study shows scientists respond less to no-brainers (5, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888022)

The subject of this research is baffling to me.

Surely all your friends were once strangers, yes?

What definition of "friend" are these scientists using? It sounds like they're asking me to pick a few people whom I'm likely to respond to, then some people I've never heard of. Perhaps they should spend more time outside the lab themselves?

How do I know if I really share any interests with someone if I've never met them? Because they say so? "I like long walks on the beach..."

And speaking as someone whose interests include stuff like comic books and horror movies, it is almost never safe to assume you could be friends with someone based on those kinds of attributes. (Too many weirdos.)

Who is surprised by their results?

Re:Study shows scientists respond less to no-brain (4, Interesting)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888290)

> Who is surprised by their results?

Response based on shared attributes: No, who's on first.

Response based on shared attributes: Who is not surprised; he is in his TARDIS, and "Who" isn't really his name.

Response based on friendship: anrvsdfnlawecs'dfk

All strangers were friends once, but a friend is more likely to respond to an anrvsdfnlawecs'dfk. This is also one reason social networking is important: our brains are coded to care more about people who have networked with us socially than about people who happen to have a shared interest, at least when it comes to paying attention to them in the first place.

Re:Study shows scientists respond less to no-brain (4, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888342)

I'm actually a bit more inclined to know if they recorded the gender with their results.

See, if I were to assume that what they consider "brain response" to correlate to social interaction; than there is of course the obvious "You're going to talk to your friends more than people you don't know." Which can often be a barrier.

However, I've noticed one thing amongst men that seems to differ from women: a lot of guys tend to hang out with other guys who have the same interests. The guys who are into sports tend to be friends with other guys who are into sports. The guys into comics are friends with other comic lovers. Now you'd think this would be a natural progression for just about everyone: You are friends with the people who have similar interests.

But specifically in my girlfriend's scenario, she doesn't have a lot of similarities with even her closest friends. One of her friends has gotten so "Witchy" recently that everyone is starting to hate her. I posed the question one day, "If you don't like hanging out with her, why do you?" To which she paused, and hesitantly responded, "Because she's my friend. I've known her since like grade 1, I can't just cut that off." Which absolutely baffles me. I'm not saying she needs to burn any bridges, but I definately take a more active approach in choosing my friends. I have evaluated each of my friends for the qualities I admire and actively make plans with the ones I enjoy the most.

Is that just me, or is it a gender based thing, or is this completely anecdotal and not worth the bandwidth used when posting it?

I only bring up genders because you'll notice a lot more "Drama" seems to happen amongst women, which I think is because of the shakey foundations of their friendships, which always seem to be based on time they had spent together (or familiarity) as opposed to actual social interests. Keep in mind I'm generalizing things a lot, clearly not everyone is like this.

Re:Study shows scientists respond less to no-brain (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888516)

...has gotten so "Witchy" recently

Do you mean Christine O'Donnell witchy or obnoxious woman witchy?

Re:Study shows scientists respond less to no-brain (2, Interesting)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888658)

I'm actually a bit more inclined to know if they recorded the gender with their results.

Or to simplify that even further... did they record what kind of tits were involved in the subject being interacted with?

Not to be crass or anything, but I would suspect that men in general are going to have increased brain activity (somewhere) when there are attractive tits involved regardless of well they know the person. It's just the way we are wired. I am pretty nice and respectful guy, but the hardest conversation I ever had (no pun intended) was with a cute young blond with ridonculous tits. It took all my will power just to be lucid, and of course not continually stare down. Come to think about it, I am pretty sure I was at least 20% of my brain to pull that off... and if there were close friends around me when this happened I certainly don't remember.

I am sure there is some sort of analogy for women too, and men that think they know what that is are probably the ones putting tube socks down the front of their pants.

Re:Study shows scientists respond less to no-brain (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33889644)

I had a female friend in high school like that. She'd come right out and give you permission to BRIEFLY stare at them, because she said she understood what kind of challenge it presented to some people. So you got ten seconds to look at them, an opportunity to make a (tasteful) comment about her beauty, and then you could start the actual conversation. It actually seemed to help some people focus.

Re:Study shows scientists respond less to no-brain (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 3 years ago | (#33890898)

A woman you actually WANT to start a conversation with. Awesome. ;)

Re:Study shows scientists respond less to no-brain (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33888376)

OHH OHH SURPRISES! Sorry but we don't do science for the surprises.

"How do I know if I really share any interests with someone if I've never met them?"
First off, I talk to people every day that I'm not close with. But lets say you've never met them. You're a skater who likes Blink 182, some guy rides by you on a skateboard wearing a Blink 182 shirt. You have common interests.

You're being all sarcastic about how obvious this is, yet you don't understand the simplest part.

"it is almost never safe to assume you could be friends with someone based on those kinds of attributes."
True but irrelevant.

"Surely all your friends were once strangers, yes?"
True but irrelevant.

From the article: "The results suggest social closeness is more important than shared beliefs when evaluating others."
It's an interesting study, I'd be interested to hear more about their results. You can put down almost any study with a "no duh I kind of assumed that but couldn't prove it and wasn't sure," but it doesn't make you any smarter or more informed. If you don't find it interesting, don't read it.

kthxbai

Re:Study shows scientists respond less to no-brain (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888402)

"Surely all your friends were once strangers, yes?"
True but irrelevant.

How so? If they strangers once, how did they get to be friends? Perhaps there was some, I dunno... mechanism involved? Something to do with how you each responded to the other, maybe? Like, maybe it's not just an on/off switch, and there are more types of people in the world than "close friend" and "stranger"?

This type of research seems like it might be interesting to people who are trying to map areas of the brain and correlate them to brain function, but to the average Slashdot user it seems to have no application.

Re:Study shows scientists respond less to no-brain (2, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888440)

"Surely all your friends were once strangers, yes?"
True but irrelevant.

How so? If they strangers once, how did they get to be friends? Perhaps there was some, I dunno... mechanism involved? Something to do with how you each responded to the other, maybe?

I'd say about 99% of the time it has to deal with similar interests combined with spending extensive time with the person, not always by choice. (School, work, online gaming, etc)

Re:Study shows scientists respond less to no-brain (3, Informative)

greyhoundpoe (802148) | more than 3 years ago | (#33889988)

The term is "propinquity", the tendency of people to form closer friendships with those they encounter often. For example, in college, people who are assigned room near stairwells tend to end up with more friends than those whose rooms aren't in a major traffic pattern.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propinquity [wikipedia.org]

Re:Study shows scientists respond less to no-brain (4, Interesting)

molnarcs (675885) | more than 3 years ago | (#33891012)

For me, this study confirmed what I came to believe instinctively, since I moved to live in Vietnam. In Vietnam, social relations are far more important than anything else when doing business, including simple things as buying grocery.

I often encounter other foreigners who complain about how Vietnamese try to cheat them, tell them ridiculous prices, etc. Me, I had exactly the opposite experience. One of the reasons was that I took the time to read about their culture before I came here. And one aspect of their culture is that social relations are far more important than anything else. It doesn't matter who you are, how much you are willing to spend, etc. Once I was buying a pack of cigarettes from a street vendor, when I noticed a coin just under my motorbike. It may have fallen out of my pocket, or not... I didn't care, I gave it to the vendor. She was protesting, but I smiled, patted her on the shoulder, and drove away. Two weeks later, I bought another pack from the same vendor. She kept the coin and gave it to me, trying to explain something enthusiastically. I speak a little Vietnamese, but couldn't understand her.

I know this is common sense, and we all know that if we befriend a shopkeeper or an official, he or she will treat us better - but it is far more prevalent in Vietnam than in our cultures. So I usually start any interaction by talking, telling them my name, age, marital status (those will be the first question you encounter) and making them laugh. They are a fun loving people, make them laugh, and you won't have to pay more than the locals.

Expacts complaining about them usually approach vendors expecting to be cheated. Vietnamese have a very keen sense of your attitude, enhanced by the language barrier (they have to rely more on their instinct when you don't speak their language). They are very good at reading people. Approach them with an open heart, and they will like you. If they like you, you pay local prices. Simple as that. Pretending to like them, fake smiles don't really work. When I share my views with these complaining expacts, they usually say I'm just naive, and I'm being cheated without even knowing it. Funny, considering I've been here for over two years, have lots of Vietnamese friends, and know the local prices of almost everything. Plus I understand enough Vietnamese to know how much they asked their countrymen to pay for a given item.

Point is that here, it is far more important to establish some sort of relationship before conducting any business. That includes very personal questions, like your age, marital status, etc. Of course, age is also important because they don't have a generic "you" in their language. You can't say "you" in Vietnamese. If someone's younger than you, you is "em", same age will be "anh" for men and "chi" for women, "ong" and "co" respectively for men and women who could be your mother. There are a dozen more commonly used personal pronouns for you, depending on position in the family, your age, your gender, and your social status. So I'd say that the findings in this study can be important to understand not only our own cultures, but other cultures too. It also shows an aspect of general human nature that in many western cultures became more buried under formalities.

Re:Study shows scientists respond less to no-brain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33888406)

George Carlin had a joke sort of related to this:

So why is it they allow a guy with big, powerful hands to get on board an airplane? I’ll tell you why: they know he’s not a security risk, because he’s already answered the three big questions:
Question number one: “Did you pack your bags yourself?”

No, Carrot Top packed my bags. He and Martha Stewart and Florence Henderson came over to the house last night, fixed me a lovely Lobster Newberg, gave me a full body massage with sacred oils from India, performed a four-way Around-The-World, and then they packed my bags.
Next question. “Have your bags been in your possession the whole time?”
No. Usually the night before I travel, just as the moon is rising, I place my suitcases out on the street corner and leave them there, unattended, for several hours. Just for good luck.
Next question. “Has any unknown person asked you to take anything on board?”
Well, what exactly is an “unknown person”? Surely everyone is known to someone. In fact, just this morning, Kareem and Yusef Ali Ben Gabbi seemed to know each other quite well. They kept joking about which one of my suitcases was the heaviest...

Off topic to article perhaps, to his comment no.
Valid point good sir just I couldn't help but thinking of this lovely standup piece...

Requiescat in pace GC.

"Obvious" is not useless (3, Insightful)

Chicken_Kickers (1062164) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888570)

Scientists (I am one) will often carry out research on what seems to the layperson as "obvious". Contrary to the opinions of such laypersons, such basic research are not a waste of taxpayer's money. Before you can get to the "useful" applied research, years of basic research man-hours needed to be done in the background until enough data had accumulated. These scientists, are looking at the brain signals associated with the phenomenon that they are studying. Their findings would add more information to our understanding of the human brain, mind, individuality and society. Only those with a mistaken understanding of how scientific research works would narrowly look at similar research like this and think that it is not very useful.

Re:"Obvious" is not useless (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888872)

In general, it is good to research the obvious questions, because often times, the answer is counter-intuitive. I think that this question was a bit unnecessary, though, because trying to predict what a stranger would prefer [e.g. aisle or window] is not as relevant as what your friend would prefer. Also, we have more data and life experience with friends, which enables us to predict what our friends want.

That being said, I hesitate to question any of this, because I'm not an expert.

Re:"Obvious" is not useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33889630)

Scientists (I am one) will often carry out research on what seems to the layperson as "obvious". Contrary to the opinions of such laypersons, such basic research are not a waste of taxpayer's money.

Says you.

Would it be more valuable spending that money on a SEAL team engaged in combat in Afghanistan? How about providing social services to the mentally ill in a large major metro? How about law enforcement in a crime and meth ridden area of Appalachia?

The luxury of "scientists" to research bullshit is about to come to a close due to budget pressures. Get used to it.

Re:"Obvious" is not useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33890726)

Would it be more valuable spending that money on a SEAL team engaged in combat in Afghanistan?

No. Darwin.

How about providing social services to the mentally ill in a large major metro?

No, Darwin again.

How about law enforcement in a crime and meth ridden area of Appalachia?

Sorry, Darwin again.

Amazing how you picked scenarios which are a complete and utter waste of time to compare to science attempting to acquire the knowledge necessary to advance and evolve the species.

Real issue - you think more about ppl you know (2, Insightful)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888680)

I think the crux of the issue is that, no matter if a stranger has a lot in common with you or no, they are by definition a stranger. A close friend, meanwhile, is someone you know -- you've got all kinds of information about them stored in your head, so whenever you meet them / think about them / see them, there's more to think about, and more that you're unconsciously recalling (probably a bit like RAM caching). With all that memory and emotional baggage, it's not surprising to me, at least, that people would be more prone to side with people they know but might disagree with, versus people they don't know but might agree with.

I'm reminded a bit of that old saying, "the devil you know"...

Cheers,

Re:Study shows scientists respond less to no-brain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33889416)

This study wasn't about face to face interactions.

Participants gave personality ratings for themselves, as well as for 2 friends (1 with similar preferences to them, the 2nd with dissimilar preferences), and were provided with 2 made up personality profiles (again, 1 similar to them, 1 dissimilar). Then, while in an MRI scanner, they predicted how these people would respond to questions like "would they prefer an aisle or window seat on a flight?".

The findings suggest that parts of the prefrontal cortex (involved in stuff like emotional processing, personality expression, mediating social interactions, decision making, and probably lots of other stuff) were more active when making these sorts of judgements for people they actually knew, rather than making judgements on the basis of made up profiles.

As the authors argue, this could be because this part of the brain pays more attention to those we are close to when making judgements, regardless of shared interests. I'm a bit skeptical, because these brain regions are known to process lots of social information, and for the people we know, we may simply have more data to sift through to make our decisions. In other words, perhaps "social alliances" don't "outweigh" shared attributes in the sense of being more important, they just give us more to factor into our decision because we simply have more information at our disposal.

Re:Study shows scientists respond less to no-brain (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 3 years ago | (#33890704)

The study is from the department of the "Bleeding Obvious".

That is what society is based on. If everyone of us changed their social alliances in accordance to the current maximal profit, civilisation as we know it would not exist. In fact even the monkey society would not exist if it tried to work along those lines. Even baboons and macacs adhere to social alliances in preference to momentary profit like for example getting the best banana right this moment. The monkey, ape and human as a representative of the family are social species. The normal ones cannot live without social interactions and they implicitly assign a significant intrinsic value to maintaining them.

From there on it is quite normal for them to take seemingly suboptimal "business" decisions when friends, family, the good of country or other social factors are involved. That is what makes the human a social animal.

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33888028)

I think everybody already knew this one.

That Explains /. (1, Interesting)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888034)

Well that sure as hell explains the flamewars present on slashdot. 'Dotters are too scared to leave Mom's basement to make close friends. All of the opinions and facts posted by others with shared interests (tech and science) must be taken with a healthy dose of skepticism followed by an abundant helping of piss-ranting. Huzzah! =D

Re:That Explains /. (2, Funny)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888110)

I did finally leave my mom's basement, but now I am not leaving the house or stepping outside during the day. Baby steps here, Baby steps.

Re:That Explains /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33890740)

I managed to reconstruct the entire basement in a small, second-story studio apartment with a deck.

Re:That Explains /. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33898180)

I'm trapped in the basement. It's a BIG basement, however. It has a blue ceiling (which sometimes turns gray and leaks water) and a fusion lamp. However, a few nerds have left the basement. [wikipedia.org]

Closeness or familiarity? (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888038)

I listen to my wife, but I also listen to Dr Phil.

If I work with someone every day but feel ambivalent towards them on a personal level yet have great respect for them on a professional level, is the personal closeness a factor at all?

The article (and perhaps the study) focuses on closeness but makes no mention of familiarity which may actually be the germination point of such closeness.

Uh (1)

iONiUM (530420) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888048)

Okay.. so the study shows that the region in our brain that is associated with social interactions gets more active when you talk about a friend, rather than a stranger, even if the stranger has more in common with the individual.

I just.. I mean, I read this '"The authors address an important component of social cognition -- the relevance of people close to us," Montague said.' but I still don't understand - why is this relevant? What does it matter? What possible invention or furtherance to science will this lead to?

I understand why we need studies, and why we study things that are "obvious." But I just don't see the relevance this time.. it feels like a bunch of scientists circle jerking themselves off lately when I read studies.

Re:Uh (2, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888104)

If you can understand the motivations people have and the key factors which shape and encourage those motivations, you can wield enormous power.

If people respond better and trust people they have "closeness" with, your strategy towards them can be formulated to maximize the closeness they feel with whatever "avatar" of yours they interact with. If you are a company, these avatars can be mascots, branding, key products, salespeople, etc. If you are a politician, those would be your staff, your public persona, etc.

Don't discount sociological studies just because they don't seem like "hard science", whatever *that* is.

Re:Uh (0)

MichaelKristopeit 23 (1916796) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888266)

bad analogy.

if you know you are dealing with someone attempting to understand and exploit your motivations, you can manipulate at will. don't discount game theory because you can't understand it.

Re:Uh (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888386)

Interesting take. Once you discount the proposition that all men are created equal there is nothing to prevent you from serving coffee instead of tea at your next function. Such that it should only be used in conjunction with purely refined polymers you will sometimes find in paints and lacquers of the highest quality. We are not talking about the lack of game theory and personal understanding as it is widely understood to be, but rather as the people we aspire to be. Which is to say that sometimes it just makes sense.

Re:Uh (1)

Michael Kristopeit 7 (1913322) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888492)

just as often it doesn't make sense.

This is slashdot (2, Funny)

ciaohound (118419) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888082)

What are these "friends" you speak of?

Re:This is slashdot (2, Funny)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888304)

If you click on your account name, and then click the friends link, you should see them all listed there.

,i>Friends
Yuo are alone in the world.

See, works like a charm!

Re:This is slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33889540)

What are these "friends" you speak of?

Sheesh, get it right!

It's "Friends? What are these friends of which you speak?"

news? (1)

melikamp (631205) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888092)

This would only be news to people who never had a single friend. Wait, this is /., nevermind...

Facebook or real? (2, Funny)

PmanAce (1679902) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888106)

Facebook friends or real friends? ;)

Re:Facebook or real? (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888264)

And what about imaginary friends? I know I am a lot more prone to responding to imaginary friends more than real friends. If I don't respond to the imaginary friends, the yelling inside my head starts to make things hurt and I get scared. Now, please excuse me while I go "grocery shopping" like the voices of my imaginary friends are telling me to.....

Studies... (2, Interesting)

citoxE (1799926) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888120)

Studies also show that you are more likely to talk to said friends then strangers, even if you and the stranger have more in common. The study seems interesting, but I would have been able to guess this on my own.

Duh. (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888124)

So how much did this study cost?

Knowledge of people vs friends (2, Informative)

Beerdood (1451859) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888178)

From TFA

The authors made up biographies of similar and dissimilar strangers for each volunteer based on their personality profiles. Then, while in a scanner, they played a game similar to the TV show "The Newlywed Game," in which participants predicted how another person would answer a question. For example, would a friend or stranger prefer an aisle or window seat on a flight? The authors found activity in the medial prefrontal cortex increased when people answered questions about friends. Notably, whether the person had common interests made no difference in brain response.

To me, this study doesn't really address whether you have more brain activity because of friends, or simply because you happen to know more information about your friends. If you're asked that sample question "would so and so prefer an aisle or window seat on a flight?" your brain has more of a 'database' of history about your friend to examine before making that decision. I.E. trying to remember if they ever flew with that person and remembering if they took that seat, or any other attempt to recall friend related information. There isn't much to think about when asking about the stranger.

It just seems to be common knowledge that the more you knew about a person, the more you would think about what decision they would make whether they're friends or not. What if those questions were on co-workers not considered friends, celebrities, enemies or anyone else the test subject knew some information about and didn't consider a friend?

Friends? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33888316)

What are those?

Shocker. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33888322)

I like people more that I know and have experiences with than someone who I could possibly in the future have experiences with. Who funded this study? I have a bridge in brooklyn that I'm willing to sell.

Gee, Really? (1)

nathanator11 (1515859) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888338)

Who in the world spends more time with strangers with common interests than they do with friends?

Common interests are a necessary but sometimes small part of a friend. There are lots of other good reasons to befriend and spend time with someone.

Not a problem, just a fact.

Study Shows Brain Responds More To Close Friends (1, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888388)

Funny, I would have thought that Pinky would respond more to close friends.

Meeting New People (1)

ashtoncp20 (1921060) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888464)

How are you supposed to respond to new people if you don't know them? Relationships take time, so of course, you respond better to people you know.

Scanners (2, Insightful)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888532)

In the absence of specifics, I can only wonder whether they used a flat bed or a hand held.

How they get from brain activity they know virtually nothing about to the abstraction of social value is beyond me. It's beyond them too, but they don't let that slow them down.

The brain responds to familiarity. The more prior associations that had been formed due to a particular stimulus, the more those associations are re-activated when presented with the same stimulus. The brain also responds to unfamiliarity, but in a different manner. The experimental design to test for these is called 'go/no-go'. AFAICT they just did a memory test here.
 

Too vague (1)

thebignop (1907962) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888622)

The region is only "known to be involved in processing social information". Saying that "the results suggest social closeness is more important than shared beliefs when evaluating others" is a long long shot just by observing that the region gets more active with friends. Our brains could simply be more active because with our friends we have more memories that our brains needs to look up, process and relate with whatever input we're getting from them. I didn't have the chance too read the original research papers but saying that "The results suggest social closeness is more important than shared beliefs when evaluating others" is too vague. I also wonder whether this phenomenon also happens with friendly people.

Explains why I always ignore my... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33888678)

...wife.

"Obvious" (1)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888696)

I've noticed that an awful lot of Slashdot posts about the results of scientific studies get marked "obvious". It seems we're all either pretty goddamned smart (so smart that we don't need science to test our suppositions) or pretty goddamned arrogant (so arrogant that we don't need science to test our suppositions).

omg the screen lit up! (1)

scapermoya (769847) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888716)

talk about a crappy experimental setup. no way to control for all the things that could explain this result.

these kinds of hand-wavy experiments will continue to crop up as our ability to measure the brain outstrips our ability to understand.

it's way to easy to point an fMRI at a region "linked" to a particular behavior or type of thinking, and then wax poetic about what the increased activity may or may not mean. sad coming from a relatively respected lab.

He's not the Messiah (1)

kindbud (90044) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888730)

He's a very naughty boy.

OH.

Brain. My bad.

Duh, really? (1)

reboot246 (623534) | more than 3 years ago | (#33888976)

"People's brains are more responsive to friends than to strangers"

I think this one qualifies as a 'no-brainer'.

Do It Yourself (1)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 3 years ago | (#33889114)

I'm waiting for neuroimaging gear to become cheap and portable. Then I'm gonna wear a rig that projects a holograph display, right above my head, so people will know what I'm thinking.

Okay, that's a lie. People won't know what I'm thinking, and I won't care. The important thing is that people stare at the pretty lights above my head, so I can more easily pick their pockets. It's like Jack Handey said:

Consider the daffodil. And while you're doing that, I'll be over here, going through your stuff."

See also (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#33889670)

Pavlov
Imprinting
Kin recognition

Why are we doing this all over again?

Notice the lack of comments on this article. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33890822)

Because Slashdot users have to wiki "friends"

Have you ever heard anyone say.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33891540)

that you should open up more, or be more open? To let someone in, and share your thoughts with someone instead of locking them up in your head?

One hardly ever Opens Up if he's unsure whether or not he'll get the reaction, or acceptance, that he wishes to get. One should also be suspicious of any information (in this case, due communication) that they acquire from people they don't know, as it might be false. People have to prove their worth to you--prove that they can relate, or understand-- before you can really open up.

Basic social chemistry. Good that they made a Scientific research upon it, as psychological tendencies are oft hard to quantify.

Could be interesting (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#33894502)

Being able to measure these effects could be useful in understanding decision making. And to help people weak in certain areas compensate.

From what I've heard, there are neurochemicals and other mechanisms involved in a feeling of trust between individuals. People may have different responses to these chemicals. One more receptive to similarities would be more easily influenced by an individual sharing physical, gender, or racial characteristics. One more receptive to the 'friend' trigger would be influenced through their social network. Etcetera.

Aside from the obvious implications for evil marketing and social control schemes, understanding your own balance could be helpful. Too high on the 'friend' scale might make you influences through this avenue. Knowing this, one can possibly train themselves to be more skeptical of suggestions based solely on, "Hey. I'm your buddy. Trust me on this." Sociopaths are noted for their skills at manipulating people by eliciting trust.

One interesting bit of info (I heard on NPR and am trying to recall): Prior to the big 2008 financial crash, one analyst repeatedly requested data to back up mortgage backed security sales. Most of his requests were pushed aside by the typical salesman, "Hey. I'm your buddy. Trust me on this." But this one guy suffered from mild aspergers syndrome, hampering the effectiveness of the 'social marketing approach'. As a result of his continual pursuit of data, he eventually came to the conclusion that these securities were crap, shorted a whole pile of them and made millions (billions?). I've seen this at work. Engineer is confronted by salesman with the big smile, handshake and crap for a product stands their ground in the face of that pressure waiting to analyze the specifications. An engineer who knows he/she is particularly susceptible to such a social approach can compensate by consciously resisting it. Or bringing the nerd with no people skills and the pocket protector to the sales meeting.

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