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Breaking!: Third person perspective means less bias


Image shows a brain and hearts. From Neuroscience News:

The researchers found that people with more varied heart rates were able to reason in a wiser, less biased fashion about societal problems when they were instructed to reflect on a social issue from a third-person perspective. But, when the study’s participants were instructed to reason about the issue from a first-person perspective, no relationship between heart rate and wiser judgment emerged.

“We already knew that people with greater variation in their heart rate show superior performance in the brain’s executive functioning such as working memory,” says Prof. Grossmann. “However, that does not necessarily mean these people are wiser – in fact, some people may use their cognitive skills to make unwise decisions. To channel their cognitive abilities for wiser judgment, people with greater heart rate variability first need to overcome their egocentric viewpoints.” More. Paper. (public access)

Which means what exactly?

Presumably, the researchers mean that one makes wiser decisions around conflicts if one looks at things from the other guy’s point of view, irrespective of one’s intelligence.

But did we need neuroscience to tell us that? On the other hand, they aren’t trying to tell us the opposite.

It’s not clear what variations in heart rate have to do with it, unless people who do more mental work have brains that use more energy, with whatever outcome.

In the age of neurobollocks and neurobullshipping, add this one to the files. Fun graphic though.

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Can anyone who has taken the time to read the paper explain the methodology by which a participant's reasoning was found to be wiser or less biased? EvilSnack

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