Sunday, June 25, 2017 | ePaper

Personality traits are contagious

  • Print


Life Desk :
People unconsciously tend to imitate the prudent, impatient or lazy attitudes of others, according to a study published in PLOS Computational Biology.
 "Prudence", "impatience" and "laziness" are typically thought of as entrenched personality traits that guide how people weigh the cost of risk, delay and effort, respectively. However, new research shows that people's attitudes towards effort, delay, or risk drift towards those of others.
'A person's attitude towards effort, delay, or risk drifts towards others personality traits.'
Jean Daunizeau and Marie Devaine, from INSERM, Paris, combined mathematical modelling and cognitive psychology to explore the laws that govern such attitude alignment.
The authors asked 56 participants to make a series of decisions involving risks, delays or efforts, both before and after having observed the decisions of fictitious participants (in fact: artificial intelligence algorithms) whose prudent, patient and lazy attitudes were sensibly calibrated.
The study results show that participants are bound to a "false-consensus" bias, i.e. they believe without evidence that the attitudes of others resemble their own. It also shows that people exhibit a "social influence" bias, i.e. their attitude tends to become more similar to those of people around them.
Intriguingly, the social influence bias is partially determined by the false-consensus bias. In brief, it first increases with false-consensus (for small false-consensus biases), but then decreases with false-consensus (for large false-consensus biases). Note that participants seem to be mostly unaware of these biases.
Critically, mathematical simulations demonstrate that both biases, and the surprising interaction between them, are hallmarks of a unique mechanism that is ideally suited to learning both about and from others' covert attitudes.
This is at odds with the conventional view that attitude alignment is an automatism that is triggered by the need to experience (partly deluded) feelings of social conformity.
"Our work is in line with an ongoing effort tending toward a computational (i.e. quantitative and refutable) understanding of human and animal cognition. In particular, we showed that formal information and decision theories provide invaluable insights regarding the nature and relationship of puzzling biases of social cognition," say the researchers.
The authors are currently applying this work to assess whether this form of attitude alignment may differ in people suffering from neuropsychiatric conditions, such as autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia.
Source: Eurekalert

More News For this Category

Predict autism among high-risk infants

Predict autism among high-risk infants

Life Desk :Autism is a neurodevelopmental spectrum disorder that begins early in childhood.Scientists have found a neuroimaging technique called Functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging (fcMRI) that could predict the

New, safer antiplatelet drug from snake venom

New, safer antiplatelet drug from snake venom

Life Desk :Scientists have found a new and safer antiplatelet drug based on snake venom. The newly designed molecule could help to prevent side effects like excessive bleeding, which

Bye, dark underarms

Bye, dark underarms

Life Desk :Do you steer clear of sleeveless clothes to hide your dark underarms? You don't need to worry any more as there are many home remedies to lighten

Is rice nice again?

Is rice nice again?

Life Desk  :For years, Indian film production designer Siddharth Sirohi struggled with stomach issues. Doctors were of little help. Then, last year, he began to do his own research,

Dentin hypersensitivity

Dentin hypersensitivity

Life Desk :Dentin hypersensitivity is an oral condition characterized by sharp pain in the affected tooth or teeth. It occurs when the dentin gets exposed to the stimuli. It

Intensified action needed to reduce leprosy

Intensified action needed to reduce leprosy

Nur-E-Alam Siddique  :Leprosy, the world's oldest disease, has been synonymous with stigma and discrimination due to the hideous  deformities it produced. The most important step in eradication of any

Birth defects due to exposure of household chemicals

Birth defects due to exposure of household chemicals

Life Desk  :Qaternary ammonium compounds or "quats," are chemicals which are often used as disinfectants and preservatives in household and personal products such as cleaners, laundry detergent, fabric softener,

Online therapy can help military personnel treat insomnia

Online therapy can help military personnel treat insomnia

Life Desk :Chronic insomnia can be treated with Cognitive behavioral therapy, by paying a regular, weekly visits to the clinician, reveals a new study by the American College of

Adieu Ramzan 2017

Adieu Ramzan 2017

Life Desk :Every year millions of Muslim across the globe fast from dawn to dusk during Ramzan, the ninth month in the Muslim calendar. It is considered as the

Organic onions better than conventional onions: Study

Life Desk :Flavonoid levels and antioxidant activity in organic onions are higher than in conventionally grown onions, reveal researchers in a new study.Five years ago, a highly publicized meta-analysis