Vasily Klucharev, Leading Research Fellow at the HSE Centre for Cognition & Decision Making, and Anna Shestakova, Director of the Centre, have become co-authors of a chapter in ‘Brain Mapping’, a three-volume encyclopaedic collection.
The book has been published by Academic Press, a respected British publishing house. The collection comprises seven sections, each of which is devoted to a separate aspect of studying the brain; it includes more than 300 articles by leading specialists in the field of neurobiology.
The chapter by the Russian scholars – ‘Social Influence and Persuasion and Message Propagation’ – is printed in the third volume, which is devoted to social and cognitive neurobiology, as well as to clinical brain mapping.
‘The social influence of decision-making is a new direction in science, with few people in the world studying this process’, said Vasily Klucharev. ‘Our centre is one of the first in the world to combine the approaches of social sciences and neuroeconomics, a discipline that studies the neurobiological basis of decision-making. Actually, we are also studying the activity of regions of the brain that are “manipulated” by various agents of social influence. For example, as the opinions of others lead to conformism, or rather, which parts of brain activity are accompanied by conformal behaviour. We are increasingly beginning to understand what areas of the brain are the “target” for social influence. Some of them are closely connected to emotions, while others are connected with the control and correction of our behaviour. Currently, our staff are going deeper into the fundamental mechanisms of decision-making processes, from researching neurobiological bases of cognitive dissonance, which often occur when making decisions, to studying the effect of different social contexts on the way our brain programmes economic decisions. Our centre plans to continue studying social influence on our behaviour and the neurobiological mechanisms underlying it. Moreover, at the end of this coming August, we plan to bring the world's leading experts in this field to Moscow for the first international symposium on neuroscience mechanisms of social influence: from mechanisms of crowd influence to the influence of advertising’.
The HSE Centre for Cognition & Decision Making was established on the basis of the HSE Department of Psychology in 2014. It is the only research unit in Russia specializing in the study of decision-making mechanisms connected, as scientists believe, with the interaction between ‘rational’ and ‘emotional’ brain systems. The Russian centre uses the latest advances in neuroimaging and the study of brain functioning (EEG, MEG, fMRI and TMS).