Win your next argument by blaming it on the brain

Sara Hodges and Laura Jacek joining the Graduate School
Sara Hodges and Laura Jacek joining the Graduate School

UO psychology professor Sara Hodges has found an unusual way to win an argument. It boils down to using your head.

But not in the obvious way. In a recent study, Hodges found that when people were given a variety of explanations for different psychological experiences, people seemed more willing to believe one that purports to be based on neuroscience even if the explanation was mostly meaningless.

It seems that for some reason an average person is more likely to believe an explanation about something psychological if it invokes the language of neuroscience rather than another kind of science. Blaming it on the mysteries of the brain just rings true for some.

In a “Psych Crunch” podcast on the website Research Digest, Hodges said “neuroscience explanations always came out on top — better than no explanation, better than social science, better than the hard science.”

For a short story on the research, see “Win Your Next Argument by Citing Meaningless Neurobabble” on the website Science of Us.