Brain News – While testing the ability of healthy human subjects to play a bargaining game, a study found that people use ‘forward thinking’ when trying to sway others.
In a new study, researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine (Mount Sinai) asked 48 healthy participants to sit in a brain scanner and play different versions of the ‘ultimatum game’. It is a popular bargaining game in which the participants were asked to split $20 with the opposing team and the initial offers started at $5. Every participant played 40 rounds of the game, alternating between the two different versions.
The study discovered differences in how the participants reacted to the games which suggested that they perceived and exploited the advantages presented by the predictable version. The findings suggested that the participants who received higher offers took a longer time to decide and experienced a greater sense of control while playing the predictable version.
During the unpredictable game, the participants showed a sense of control which was 40% higher than reality. When playing games against a computer instead of teams, the participants reported feeling 60% in control of the game even after receiving higher offers in the predictable version.
According to the research result, people use forward-thinking when trying to sway others. It showed that forward-thinking appears to be driven by the neural activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (a decision-making center of the brain) and happens regardless of whether a person can actually influence others.
“Our results suggest that in certain social situations the brain draws on the kind of forward-thinking often used when playing chess. These results highlight the complicated interplay between the actual controllability of social situations and our feelings of control, ” said Xiaosi Gu, lead researcher of the study.
To Know more You May Refer To:
Na, S., Chung, D., Hula, A., Perl, O., Jung, J., Heflin, M., Blackmore, S., Fiore, V. G., Dayan, P., & Gu, X. (2021). Humans use forward thinking to exploit social controllability. eLife, 10. https://doi.org/10.7554/elife.64983