Opinion (Vasily Klucharev , PhD, Dean of the Faculty of Psychology of the Higher School of Economics, Moscow): “We make decision only to activate (satisfy) the neurons of brain areas associated with obtaining pleasure.
“Biologists have found that pleasure and desire to get it are connected with the structures of the brain, rich in dopamine, the pleasure centers in the brain.
“Scientists implanted electrodes in these areas of rats’ brains and found that by pressing a pedal, the animal was engaged in self-stimulation for hours. The rat rejected food and endlessly stimulated its brain – and died from exhaustion. Similar behavior has been observed in humans.
“In ordinary life, we activate brain structures rich in dopamine, visiting restaurants, earning money, falling in love.
“Our senses send information to the brain neurons that are activated in proportion to the expected pleasure and make the decision to buy or not to buy this product – that is, how to command the motor areas of the brain that triggers our muscles.
“People around us influence our opinion, causing a change in the activity of the pleasure center. If our opinion matches the others’ opinion, it activates the center, and if it does not match, this inhibits its activity. It seems that we like to have a shared opinion, and I do not like being different.
“It turns out that the group with which we identify ourselves regulates the operation of our pleasure centers, changes our opinion, supporting the similarity of our views with the social norm and suppressing disagreement.
“We think that we understand why we make decisions, but in reality, we are not aware of the real causes of our behavior. We cannot guess the motives of our conduct, remaining under the illusion that we control our behavior. Therefore, it is difficult for us to accept the idea that our actions are just a means of activation the group neurons of the brain.”