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Part 1. Social Neuroscience
"Specific neurons and neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine, trigger a defensive state when we feel that our thoughts have to be protected from the influence of others.
If we are then confronted with differences in opinion, the chemicals that are released in the brain are the same ones that try to insure our survival in dangerous situation.
In this defensive state, the more primitive part of the brain interferes with rational thinking and the limbic system can knock out most of our working memory, physically causing 'narrow-mindedness'.
No matter how valuable an idea is, the brain has trouble processing it when it is in such state.
On a neural level, it reacts as if we're being threatened, even if this threat comes from harmless opinions or facts that we may otherwise find helpful and could rationally agree with.
But when we express our self and our views are appreciated, these 'defense chemicals' decrease in our brain and dopamine neurotransmission activates the reword neurons, making us feel empowered and increasing our self-esteem. Our beliefs have a profound impact on our body chemistry, this is why placebos can be so effective."