A recent study into the neural mechanisms through which external information, such as professional advice, is integrated into financial decision making may shed light on how Bernard Madoff was able to deceive so many people. ScienceDaily reports:
Study participants were asked to make a series of financial choices between a guaranteed payment and a lottery while undergoing fMRI scanning. During portions of the testing, the participants had to make decisions on their own; during other portions, they received advice from a financial expert about which choice to make.
"Results showed that brain regions consistent with decision-making were active in participants when making choices on their own; however, there occurred an offloading of the decision-making process in the presence of expert advice," says Jan B. Engelmann, PhD, Emory research fellow in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and first author of the study.
The lesson is... don't outsource your critical thinking, especially when you talk to an expert.
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