Thursday, January 12, 2023

The Most Important Book We've Read in Years, Quote 2 (why we sometimes actually don't see the truth) Willful Blindness


About the conformity to group responses showing the famous Asch experiments:

What the scientists sought to discover wasn’t whether the volunteers would conform; they knew by now how likely it was that they would. Instead, they wanted to know what kind of brain activity was involved. If, in the act of conforming, activity in the prefrontal cortex was dominant, this would indicate that conformity was the result of conscious decision making. But if activity centered in the occipital and parietal regions of the brain, then that would suggest that conformity was an act of perception—that social inĪŠuence had altered what the volunteer saw. 
The three-dimensional test was harder than Asch’s and so the participants made more mistakes, even without any external input. But they conformed at the same rates. And when they did so, there was no activity in the prefrontal cortex—that is, a conscious decision was not being made. The brain’s activity centered on those areas of the brain responsible for perception. In other words, knowing what the group saw changed what the participants saw; they became blind to the differences.