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Neuroscience of false consensus effect

Grant number: 18/14507-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2018
Effective date (End): September 30, 2019
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology
Principal Investigator:Paulo Sérgio Boggio
Grantee:Letícia Yumi Nakao Morello
Host Institution: Centro de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde (CCBS). Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie (UPM). Instituto Presbiteriano Mackenzie. São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The process of categorization and judgement of possible allies (Ingroup) or enemies (Outgroup) is essential for the survival and evolution of the human species. A fundamental aspect of this process is that part of it does not take place in the level of consciousness. Fast and automatic processing as heuristics and bias are important part of the way we judge threats or development opportunities, among other things. One of these bias is the False Consensus Effect, that leads individuals to believe that their behavioral choices and judgments are relatively common and appropriate and alternative positions are inappropriate and unusual. Welborn (2017) demonstrated that when the participant receives clues that confirm their own opinions, the effect of the bias increase and there is activity in the pre Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex (VMPFC), an area related to social approval and reward situations. On the other hand, when the participant receives hints that contradict their opinion, decreasing the effect of the bias, there is activity of the Right Ventrolateral Prefrontal (RVLPFC), area related to regulatory processes. In this way, it is possible to think of a possible causal relationship between these cortical structures and the effect described here, which would show the need of neuromodulation studies with the effect of the bias. In this way, the present study aims to investigate the role of the Prefrontal Cortex on the False Consensus Effect and as specific objectives (I) to verify if the False Consensus Effect is replicable in Brazilian population; (II) verify if the magnitude of the False Consensus Effect is correlated with an opening measure of change of perspective and (III) investigate the role of the VMPF and of the RVLPFC on the False Consensus Effect, through modulation via Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (TDCS). The experiment is divided into two stages. The first of these is to track the opinion of the participants about many subjects and will be done through an online platform. The second step is the experimental task, during which stimulation will be carried out. Despite the growing increase in literature about this bias and the parallel increase in the number of publications on the use of neuromodulation in cognitive, social and affective sciences, no study found sought to assess the impact of neuromodulation of frontal cortical structures in the frequency and intensity of this bias, which reinforces the importance of this study proposed here.

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