Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Think for Yourself

Do you tend to take the advice of an "expert" (so called) instead of doing your own thinking? With hindsight, some think that the causes of the current global financial meltdown seem obvious, even predictable. Brain imaging has offered one explanation for why so few investors challenged foolhardy fiscal advice. Studies by Berns, a neuroeconomist at Emory University in Atlanta, found that the brains of participants raised few objections when presented with seemingly expert guidance. This suggested that the normal mechanisms people use to evaluate risk and reward are not being used when someone they perceive is an expert is telling them what to do. The conclusion is that people should take expert advice – fiscal, medical or otherwise – more shrewdly. In Berns' opinion, decision-making shouldn't be handed over to anyone, expert or otherwise.
Journal reference: PLoS-ONE (DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0004957)

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