The Treasury, Catherine Street, Royal Parade, Plymouth, Devon, PL1 2AD
Speaker: Dr Patric Bach, Plymouth University
Conformity is typically seen as negative, enticing people to not step out of the crowd and take responsibility for their views and actions, and made responsible for acquiescence to authoritarian regimes. Yet, recent research in cognitive neuroscience - specifically the discovery of mirror neurons in the macaque monkey - suggests that it might emerge from a very basic mechanism that underlies many of our social skills. People's knack for resonating with others can serve as an effective (but unconscious) tool for creating social connections. It might underlie our ability to imitate others and learn from their mistakes. Finally, it might allow us to attune ourselves to other people so that we can better emphasize with and sense their emotional states. In my talk, Patric will attempt to explain these behaviours, both negative and positive, in a common framework so that they can be understand as a separate facet of central mechanisms that makes humans the social creatures they are.