25/02/2021

Categories: Psychology, Postgraduate

How Arguing Impacts the Brain (Social Neuroscience Theories at Work)

Have you considered Postgraduate training in social neuroscience? Here’s a recent discovery that will inspire you to embark on your own research journey!

Are you interested in turning your Psychology degree into a postgraduate qualification that studies the human brain in a social context? How our brain interacts with, and responds to the world is a fascinating field, one that impacts people all over the world.

The MSc Social Neuroscience course at the University of Bolton in Greater Manchester is designed to help you turn social neuroscience theories into effective research skills that relate to real life. Voted No.1 in the UK for Student Satisfaction in Psychology Courses* for the second year running, there’s nowhere better to train in this exciting subject.

As an example of how neuroscience can improve the way we live, here’s a look at a recent eye-opening study about the brain’s response to social disagreements.

So this is how arguing affects the brain…

Research was conducted on 38 adults, asking them to discuss controversial issues such as same sex marriage and the legalisation of drugs. Led by researchers from Yale and University College London, this study monitored brain activity during these interactions.

The findings were interesting, revealing that when people agreed with one another, their brain activity was harmonious and focused in sensory areas such as the visual system. When people were in disagreement or in a heated debate, sensory areas of the brain were less active.

This is because arguing takes up much more real estate, meaning the brain has to prioritise other functions, like reasoning and cognitive processing.

Decreased activity in social and attention networks means reduced cross-brain neural synchrony, which can have a negative impact on communication. In a time when divisiveness is omnipresent, this research gives us clues into how communication can be better managed, particularly in political settings.

Did you know…conflicts in the workplace can be detrimental to staff and their health? It can often impact on people’s mental wellbeing, with 25% of employees reporting sickness or absence due to disagreements with colleagues!**

Neuroscience can improve relationships

Understanding how the human brain works and reacts to challenging social situations can help us understand individual and group behaviour. This means we have the power to improve relationships, not just at a basic level, but for international relations and the world of politics.

This fascinating field is also important for studying the economic brain, helping us understand human motivation, reactions to incentive and decision-making in from an economic perspective.

The latest research makes clear the negative impacts on the brain’s ability to function and make decisions when conflicts were high. This puts neuroscience at the heart of social and economic development, giving scientists and researchers an opportunity to make a difference.

Study Neuroscience and contribute to important research

If you find this kind of research work interesting, our master’s course could be for you. On this programme you’ll get a chance to learn social neuroscience theories and develop your neuroscientific research skills, including electrophysiology and eye-tracker experiments.

You'll also be encouraged to explore social issues from a variety of perspectives, refining and enhancing your critical evaluation and reflection skills.

Our goal is to create neuroscientific leaders who can transform the way people socialise, interact in a global context, and create meaningful strategies and policies in a tense political climate. We’re also career-focused, tailoring the programme to your professional development needs, and supporting your career ambitions with our dedicated Employability Team.

To find out more about applying in 2021, go to our course page.

* Complete University Guide in 2021 and 2020
** CPP Global Human Capital Report

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