Claim: Brain Study on How to Slow Down Climate Change

Peer-Reviewed Publication

UNIVERSITY OF BERN

brain stimulation
IMAGE: PARTICIPANT WITH BRAIN STIMULATION. view more CREDIT: PHOTO PROVIDED BY THE AUTHORS

When it comes to climate-friendly behaviour, there is often a gap between what we want and what we actually do. Although most people want to see climate change slowed down, many do not behave in an appropriately sustainable way. Researchers at the University of Bern have now used brain stimulation to demonstrate that the ability to mentalise with the future victims of climate change encourages sustainable behaviour. 

Global climate change may be the biggest challenge faced by humanity today. Despite decades of warnings and political resolutions, however, sustainability remains a long way from being achieved. “The fact that people aren’t acting in a more climate friendly way isn’t because we know too little about this critical situation, though.” explains Daria Knoch, Professor for Social Neuroscience at the University of Bern. To find out more about the reasons that prevent us from acting sustainably, Daria Knoch and her team have conducted a neuroscientific study. The findings have just been published in the renowned international journal Cortex.

While some effects of global warming are already visible today, those affected more strongly will be people in the future who we do not know. “It is precisely our inability to mentalise with these strangers that discourages climate-friendly action,” says Daria Knoch, commenting on the findings of the new study that she carried out with her research group in the “Social Neuro Lab” at the University of Bern. During the study, participants received stimulation to a part of their brain which plays an important role for taking the perspective of others. This stimulation led to more sustainable behaviour.

Stimulation of the part of the brain responsible for forming perspectives

During the experiment, participants in groups of four withdrew real money from a shared pool. Each participant decided for themself: the more money they withdrew from the pool, the more they ultimately had in their pocket. However, if the group of four withdrew too much money overall, this had consequences for the next group: the payment they received was much lower. Thus, the experiment mimicked a real situation in which the overuse of a resource has negative consequences for other people in the future. 

While deciding on the amount of money to withdraw, some participants received a brain stimulation (experimental group): a non-invasive, harmless, mild electrical current was applied to the skull to increase the function of the stimulated brain area. The researchers in Bern stimulated an area which plays a strong role in taking the perspective of others, and discovered that it had a considerable impact: the stimulated individuals made more sustainable decisions than the participants without the stimulation (control group), by deciding not to withdraw an excessive amount of money from the pool.

Benefits for climate communication 

“Applying brain stimulation to the general public is out the question, of course,” explains Benedikt Langenbach, lead author of the study and a former PhD student at the Social Neuro Lab. However, according to the researchers, the functioning brain area in question can also be enhanced, for example, through neurofeedback and meditation. According to Benedikt Langenbach, who now works at the University of Duisburg-Essen, additional strategies are also available to improve the forming of perspectives: “We know that people are more likely to empathise with someone – a victim of climate change, for example – if they are able to identify with them.” 

Daria Knoch adds: “Our neuroscientific findings can therefore help to make communication on the climate crisis more effective, for instance by giving those affected a name and a face instead of talking about an anonymous ‘future generation’.”


JOURNAL

Cortex

DOI

10.1016/j.cortex.2021.11.006 

METHOD OF RESEARCH

Experimental study

SUBJECT OF RESEARCH

People

ARTICLE TITLE

Mentalizing with the future: Electrical stimulation of the right TPJ increases sustainable decision-making

From EurkekAlert!

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Zig Zag Wanderer
December 15, 2021 10:04 pm

Bern have now used brain stimulation to demonstrate that the ability to mentalise with the future victims of climate change encourages sustainable behaviour.

Well, I’m not sure about mentalising (is that even a word?), but they are sure trying to turn people mental!

“The fact that people aren’t acting in a more climate friendly way isn’t because we know too little about this critical situation, though.”

This is true. It’s because we know too much about this situation.

To find out more about the reasons that prevent us from acting sustainably, Daria Knoch and her team have conducted a neuroscientific study.

And once again miss the reason why people aren’t taking them seriously at all.

“It is precisely our inability to mentalise with these strangers that discourages climate-friendly action,”

No, it’s because we know it’s not a problem and your proposed socialist solutions are pointless and absurdly expensive to the point of completely destroying Western economies.

While deciding on the amount of money to withdraw, some participants received a brain stimulation (experimental group): a non-invasive, harmless, mild electrical current was applied to the skull to increase the function of the stimulated brain area. The researchers in Bern stimulated an area which plays a strong role in taking the perspective of others, and discovered that it had a considerable impact: the stimulated individuals made more sustainable decisions than the participants without the stimulation (control group), by deciding not to withdraw an excessive amount of money from the pool.

So if you stimulate the socialist part of their brains, they become dumber? I guess that makes sense.

“Applying brain stimulation to the general public is out the question, of course,” explains Benedikt Langenbach, lead author of the study and a former PhD student at the Social Neuro Lab. However, according to the researchers, the functioning brain area in question can also be enhanced, for example, through neurofeedback and meditation.

So you lament the fact that you are not allowed to electrically brainwash people into socialism, but think that you may be able to manage this with traditional brainwashing indoctrination techniques.

“We know that people are more likely to empathise with someone – a victim of climate change, for example

Show me 1 (one) victim, and I may start listening to you.

Last edited 1 month ago by Zig Zag Wanderer
Ron Long
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
December 16, 2021 2:18 am

Good comments, zig zag. Why didn’t they just utilize functional MRI to see which persons had more empathy and future awareness? This brain stimulation (or maybe dysfunction) is backwards as regards neuro scientific study of empathy.

yirgach
Reply to  Ron Long
December 16, 2021 1:55 pm

This was a low budget op, they couldn’t afford the MRI testing or analysis or even comprehend the need for it.

MarkW
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
December 16, 2021 6:59 am

It sounds like the socialists are once again assuming that anyone who disagrees with them is somehow defective.

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
December 16, 2021 8:01 am

“Show me 1 (one) victim …”

The only victims of the scientific truth are those whose lively hoods depends on the lie and frankly, they deserve to be victims.

The real victims of green will be the poor when they can no longer afford to live in our modern society as the price of energy and all that depends on it is no longer afordable as the result of this anti-science, anti-reason, anti-prosperity, anti-capitalism, anti-human, politically driven hate mongering targeting oil, CO2 and anyone who doesn’t bow down to their political narrative.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  co2isnotevil
December 16, 2021 9:50 am

All you need to do is look at Korea by night from orbit?

TonyG
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
December 16, 2021 10:15 am

Well, I’m not sure about mentalising (is that even a word?)

I looked it up – apparently it means “thinking about thinking” – but there is clearly none of that going on there.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  TonyG
December 16, 2021 1:28 pm

We need more mentalizing.

I assume I can use a “z”, since I’m in the U.S.

They got paid for this study, did they?

Richard S Courtney
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
December 17, 2021 10:20 am

Zig Zag Wanderer:

The study is daft because it assumes using wealth now depletes future wealth available for use. This assumption is the opposite of reality.

Wealth can be stored (e.g. as money under a mattress) or used as investment or squandered. Stored wealth does not grow. Wealth grows when used or invested, and it grows most if invested wisely.

Please explain how any of this has any relationship of any kind to socialism.

Richard

Brad
December 15, 2021 10:09 pm

Oh hell no!!!

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Brad
December 16, 2021 5:51 am

Demonrats like AOC and her ilk will be all over this like a duck on a June bug, pushing to make this mandatory in grade schools. Unless of course, local school boards get there first. But they may be too busy pushing Critical Race Theory.

Last edited 1 month ago by D. J. Hawkins
MarkW
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
December 16, 2021 7:00 am

CRT is just the latest name for left wing racism.

lee
December 15, 2021 10:09 pm

When all else fails turn to climate communication. /s

Curious George(@moudryj)
Reply to  lee
December 16, 2021 7:39 am

Surely it is a communication problem, not incessant lies. 🙂

December 15, 2021 10:16 pm

Zap your brain, stop thinking and support ‘Climate Change

Peta of Newark
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
December 16, 2021 12:25 am

Quote:”Zap your brain, stop thinking and support ‘Climate Change‘

We’re getting close – just a minor tweak to mentalize it better

Eat sugar, stop thinking and support Jojo Brandon

Otherwise, they’re trying to be funny. There can be no other coherent explanation
But because Bern is near Germany, a place and people noted for a specatucaular lack of any sense of humour – it could only fall off the rails before the doors had even closed

gringojay
December 15, 2021 10:33 pm

SocialNeuro Lab subjects can only dream of being like this Taklamakan gal who escaped climate change way back in 1,615 B.C.

4D82E745-483C-43CC-8CC9-9FC4269D8A55.jpeg
Tim
Reply to  gringojay
December 15, 2021 11:09 pm

It shows how beautiful women are even after 3600 years.

LdB
December 15, 2021 10:41 pm

All they need now is to introduce climate education camps and non believers have to wear yellow stars.

Waza
Reply to  LdB
December 15, 2021 11:41 pm

Marxists strategy is to create a villain and victim.
They have four current victim issues
Gender
Race
Covid
Climate.
Their perfect villain would be western white males for all four above, but they are currently struggling to unite the victims.

While I expect marxists will continue to f things up, I don’t think they have the muscle to overcome THEIR chosen villain.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  LdB
December 16, 2021 1:40 pm

“All they need now is to introduce climate education camps”

I think AOC was trying to do that by using the new spending bill to hire 300,000 Climate Change Brownshirts, but it looks like the Build Back Better Biden Bill is in serious trouble, and it looks like it could go down in flames, as various parties argue over its merits, or lack thereof.

Doonman
December 15, 2021 10:57 pm

Global climate change may be the biggest challenge faced by humanity today.

Actually, it’s listening to hysterical people rant about the supposed horrors of global climate change that is the biggest challenge faced by humanity today. Actually facing and then adapting to the observed climate change is a piece of cake since its not really any different than it ever was.

Tim
December 15, 2021 11:01 pm

They should know where this is coming from, they have been analyzing this for 50 years.

“The good news is that Antarctica is not currently contributing to sea level rise, but is taking 0.23 millimeters per year away,” Zwally said. “But this is also bad news. If the 0.27 millimeters per year of sea level rise attributed to Antarctica in the IPCC report is not really coming from Antarctica, there must be some other contribution to sea level rise that is not accounted for.”

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/nasa-study-mass-gains-of-antarctic-ice-sheet-greater-than-losses

December 15, 2021 11:02 pm

So no need for electric shock therapy, just get them to “think of the children“! 🙂

(Where have I heard that before? )
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Think_of_the_children

Last edited 1 month ago by StuM
gary
December 15, 2021 11:19 pm

Peak climate scientology! Now with electro shock therapy!

Waza
December 15, 2021 11:20 pm

Why don’t all the woke billionaires create an endowment fund for a new Unicorn University?

The UU can have various faculties that study:-
Unicorn History
Unicorn Languages
Unicorn Gender Studies
Unicorn Economics
And
Unicorn Science
All students can take out loans that they don’t have to repay

Alan the Brit
Reply to  Waza
December 16, 2021 12:23 am

“All students can take out loans that they don’t have to repay”

But………..only if their final year thesis arrives at the appropriate conclusion that is, as agreed in the loan application interview!!! Those who don’t probably won’t get the loan in the first place!!!

The hysteria is reaching neo-Nazi proportions, George Orwell would NOT be so proud of the neo-Socialists of today, let alone those of 1948. What on Earth is this obsession with mind control, is it because people have heard, listened to, & rejected the dictates from on high & on low???

Mr.
Reply to  Alan the Brit
December 16, 2021 7:37 am

If they don’t have to repay the loan, it’s not a loan, it’s a gift or donation.

The taxation laws are quite specific about the obligations attendant to loans vs gifts.

If these climate centric policy pushers can’t even work out the difference between a loan and a donation, I shudder to think what a shemozzle their policy package is.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Waza
December 16, 2021 1:44 pm

“Why don’t all the woke billionaires create an endowment fund for a new Unicorn University?”

Musk might have brain chip for this. Put the chip in the brain, and the subject becomes an alarmist.

Jeroen B.
December 15, 2021 11:35 pm

I must say I like the misspelling at the end stating it’s “from Eur Kek Alert” because most of this reads like a bad troll post. 😉

Ruleo
Reply to  Jeroen B.
December 16, 2021 1:58 am

Praise Kek!

Climate believer
December 15, 2021 11:49 pm

“We know that people are more likely to empathise with someone – a victim of climate change, for example – if they are able to identify with them.” 

You mean like Greta, she had her childhood stolen because climate or something…..

Even turning your thought control machine up to max and leaving me like that for a few weeks, I doubt you’ll get the result you’re looking for.

Germans, what is it with them and mind control?

Paul Johnson
Reply to  Climate believer
December 17, 2021 8:57 am

Are people also more likely to empathize with victims of Climate Change policy if they can identify with them? Like grannies having to decide whether to “heat or eat”?

iggi
December 15, 2021 11:57 pm
  • OMG ‘Giving a name and face’ has been practiced by journalists for attention-inducing effect for decades. You know those war-themed contents beginning like ‘Four-year old Ali crouches on the hot dirt floor of his family’s makeshift shelter outside [insert place]. Silently he watches his sister ….’ etc.
  • Why is decarbonating even about human behaviour control and not about energy technology?
  • It isn’t necessary to physically stimulate peoples brains, good old propaganda techniques (simple scary message often) and modern attention engineering practiced in Social Media should do. However, one wonders how soon physical cortex stimulation through personal listening devices is possible. Therefore:
  • Get your electrodes off people’s brains, weirdos.
John Bell
Reply to  iggi
December 16, 2021 6:22 am

“Why is decarbonizing even about human behaviour control and not about energy technology?”
EXACTLY! I think they KNOW it can not be done, so they have to turn to the brain to get it done, and besides, they also see it as a way to control other behaviors.

fretslider
December 16, 2021 12:26 am

Neuropseudo nonsense

It’s al about guilt tripping

STAFFAN LINDSTRÖM
December 16, 2021 12:43 am

If you can control everything, you can control what happened before Big Bang too…or it at least it will be revealed…..?? If this brain stimulation improves my Parkinson, I’m perhaps a little more positive… 😉

Bruce Cobb
December 16, 2021 12:45 am

Yes. They need better, more effective methods of brainwashing people on a mass scale. Because their current, massive, continuous campaign of climate propaganda isn’t doing the job. If they could, the Climate Grinches would shut down Christmas because hey, whatever it takes to “save the planet”.

SkepticalAtBest
December 16, 2021 1:21 am

Too bad US ‘leaders’ don’t care about the future victims (our citizens) when they spend all this money we don’t have! Maybe we should hook some electric devices to their skulls instead.

Doonman
Reply to  SkepticalAtBest
December 16, 2021 10:38 am

Why should I care about future unborn citizens? They are all going to tear my statue down in the public square anyway because they won’t like my policies 100 years after my death regardless of how cool I was when I was alive.

December 16, 2021 1:44 am

Brain stimulation ???
Brain washing à la 1984 would I call it.

Ed Zuiderwijk
December 16, 2021 1:52 am

I smell a Sokal.

Alexy Scherbakoff
December 16, 2021 2:20 am

I have to listen to the perspective of politicians all the time. I don’t feel kindly toward them. God only knows what I would do if I had the shock treatment.

Laertes
December 16, 2021 3:21 am

<<“Applying brain stimulation to the general public is out the question, of course,” explains Benedikt Langenbach, lead author of the study and a former PhD student at the Social Neuro Lab.>>

So were the vaccine passports a year ago.

Joel O’Bryan(@joelobryan)
December 16, 2021 3:26 am

Rent Seeking 101 – exploit the crisis de jour on the next grant application. aka riding the gravy train to grant success.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
December 16, 2021 10:22 am

Exactly, Joel. Feeling left out, the department heads at the University of Bern got together to discuss how to get every department milking the “climate change” teat. This is what the neuroscience people came up with, bless their little square heads. What alarms me, they offer this muck with no hint of embarrassment or self awareness.

Clarky of Oz
December 16, 2021 4:11 am

Now, what could possibly go wrong?

Pflashgordon
December 16, 2021 4:33 am

Another study designed by Professor Venkman? (as portrayed by Bill Murray in Ghostbusters? Couldn’t find an ad-free clip)

Glen
December 16, 2021 5:00 am

I think the main reason everyone isn’t on the climate change squad is that it isn’t actually detectable by human senses. If it was really happening and also really terrible, I should be able to go outside and see for myself. Since everyone everywhere can go outside and see things for themselves, the delusion of climate change just doesn’t stick
If they forced everyone, everywhere, to stay inside at all times, replaced all windows with centrally controlled monitors, they might be able to sell the illusion better.

Glen
Reply to  Glen
December 16, 2021 5:02 am

Oh no, what have I done?

Jeff corbin
Reply to  Glen
December 16, 2021 7:55 am

The mirrors are the images of climate dire that are constantly consumable in the media that trigger and reinforce the suggestion of climate change threat, which sustains a undetectable level of fear. The entrenched fear and growing sense of reality of the threat creates self righteous action as people begin to plan how they are going to address the threat t everyone around them is facing….even the morally higher threat to innocent plants and animals since it is ingrained in us to be good stewards.. The self righteous action further reinforces the belief in the threat, which in turn creates a syndrome similar to hysteria when every one further exaggerates the threat to maintain their self righteous stance. Working in the center of healthcare industry I have seen this dynamic play out first hand during the pandemic.

Pseudoscience is as much about career building as it is about self righteous belief.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jeff corbin
Tom Abbott
Reply to  Glen
December 16, 2021 1:53 pm

“I think the main reason everyone isn’t on the climate change squad is that it isn’t actually detectable by human senses.”

I think that is exactly right. That’s the problem the alarmists have, and so they try to talk us into believing that the weather we experience is worse than ever in human history, and the cause is CO2.

The problem with this line of argument is the weather we are currently experiencing in not unprecedented. It’s all happened before, when CO2 was a minor factor, so not the cause.

David Dibbell
December 16, 2021 5:41 am

“Our neuroscientific findings can therefore help to make communication on the climate crisis more effective, for instance by giving those affected a name and a face instead of talking about an anonymous ‘future generation’.”

OK, I’m mentalizing with a future couple, Michael and Katharine, who are freezing in the dark with their only child Zeke as the batteries go dead on the second day of the Blizzard of 2051.

Am I doing this right?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  David Dibbell
December 16, 2021 1:54 pm

I think you have the idea. 🙂

2hotel9
December 16, 2021 5:44 am

So they admit belief in human caused climate change is a mental disorder and they want to spread that mental disorder to the entire human race. Wow, that Master Plan out of Germany never went away, they just changed their costumes and names and moved on.

Tom Halla
December 16, 2021 5:50 am

How to sell something deservedly unpopular 101?

observa
December 16, 2021 6:13 am

During the experiment, participants in groups of four withdrew real money from a shared pool. Each participant decided for themself: the more money they withdrew from the pool, the more they ultimately had in their pocket. However, if the group of four withdrew too much money overall, this had consequences for the next group: the payment they received was much lower. Thus, the experiment mimicked a real situation in which the overuse of a resource has negative consequences for other people in the future. 

No it didn’t as the participants intuitively knew there was plenty of thin air credits and subsidies to go around with more helicopter money printed in the real climate changer world. You’d think a bunch of taxeaters at Burn Universal would grasp that.

Joao Martins
December 16, 2021 6:37 am

Wrong title. Should be:

Exploring the powers of the mind: Brain Study on How to Mentally Slow Down Climate Change

Jeff Corbin
December 16, 2021 6:44 am

Climate communication. Absurd!

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cell-phone-use-stimulates-brain-activity-201102231548

I have avoided being neuralized, mentalized, fried all these years buy never buying or owning a cell phone. Could this explain why I read WUWT and not CNN everyday. LOL

ResourceGuy
December 16, 2021 7:19 am

Would you rather have an electric shock or a cookie?

The correct answer is they get a publication and a promotion. You get another look at bad science emanating out to more corners of pseudoscience.

Jeff corbin
Reply to  ResourceGuy
December 16, 2021 7:37 am

Absurd-science, silly-science, fake-science, fraudulent-science…..! Many young folks have no idea what pseudo means. It’s the Ps that throws them. LOL. I suggest that WUWT throw in some youth oriented fun post using Anime, cartoon motifs and simple internet popular lingo to inform and influence. Posts like how eating Ramen has no impact on climate and how nerf foam used in nerf darts are climate neutral. There is a growing hoard of American Anime artists and writers who could be leveraged for the task LOL.

Smart Rock
December 16, 2021 7:38 am

Applying brain stimulation to the general public is out the question, of course

Wait till our dear leaders hear about it…..

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Smart Rock
December 16, 2021 1:57 pm

Our Dear Leaders are Old School. They use the Leftwing Media for their brainwashing efforts.

Lrp
December 16, 2021 8:26 am

Just imagine the size of electric shocks they would have to give to the likes of Al Gore or De Caprio

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Lrp
December 16, 2021 1:58 pm

Turn it up to 11 !

Rory Forbes
December 16, 2021 10:12 am

This is the result when we give children, with a mind like Greta’s, a degree and then set them loose in academia. Surely this must be a parody.

Bruce Cobb
December 16, 2021 12:29 pm

OK, last time.
This is climate propaganda.
This is your brain on climate propaganda.
Any questions?

Tom Abbott
December 16, 2021 1:15 pm

From the article: “While some effects of global warming are already visible today,”

Really? Like what?

Tom Abbott
December 16, 2021 1:22 pm

From the article: “During the study, participants received stimulation to a part of their brain which plays an important role for taking the perspective of others. This stimulation led to more sustainable behaviour.”

Lol !

Sustainable behavior = Compliance.

I think she is talking about brainwashing.

Hey, instead of brainwashing people to believe in Human-caused Climate Change, why don’t you just show a little evidence that this problem actually exists? I think if people saw a little evidence, they could be easily convinced.

Oh, you say you don’t have any evidence? Well, that is a problem. That’s why you are having a hard time convincing people. It has nothing to do with psychology.

ResourceGuy
December 16, 2021 1:48 pm
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