Brain or heart? Where you place thy ‘sense of self’ says a lot about you

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Published: May 21, 2015 7:09:19 PM

As per a new study, people tend to locate their "sense of self" in the brain or the heart.

As per a new study, people tend to locate their “sense of self” in the brain or the heart.

Experts at Rice University and Columbia University say that whether people locate their sense of self in the brain or the heart can have a major influence on people’s decision-making.

Overall, the study found people tend to locate the self in the brain. Researcher Hajo Adam said that they view their research as a first step toward reviving the debate about which part of our body contains the seat of the self – a debate that dates back to the ancient Greek philosophers.

Adam added that the findings demonstrate not only that the preference for the brain versus the heart as the location of the self systematically depends on a person’s self-construal, meaning the perceptions that individuals have about their thoughts, feelings and actions in relation to others, but also that the location of the self has important implications for people’s opinions on contentious medical issues as well as prosocial contributions.

Otilia Obodaru said that these results suggest that where people locate the self might be a notable characteristic that shapes people’s psychological processes and decision-making, adding that consequently, there may be great value in better understanding the antecedents and consequences of being a “brain person” or a “heart person.”

The study’s findings also suggest that leadership speeches, entrepreneurial pitches or marketing materials that invoke the heart or the brain could be differentially persuasive, depending on the recipient’s perceived location of the self, the author said.

For example, the results suggest that advertising messages targeted at people with independent self-construals compared with messages targeted at people with interdependent self-construals might be more effective if they invoke the brain rather than the heart.

The study will appear in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. (ANI)

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