Brains Behaving Badly: The Dark Side of Human Nature

We all know good from bad and right from wrong, but that doesn’t keep us from committing some bad behaviors. Lust, greed, envy and pride are just a few most people aim to avoid—but turns out, we can’t always help it. Let’s explore the dark side of human nature to see how your brain was born to be bad.

On Brain Games: Brains Behaving Badly, host Jason Silva takes a look at pride, the deadly sin of self-obsession. While it may not seem as bad as others, this natural instinct influences wicked behavior.

Silva invited participants to a red carpet for a mini photo-shoot. After getting their pictures taken, the individuals are shown three different photographs of strangers from the opposite sex. Then they are asked to choose the face most attractive to them.

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Over 75% of volunteers choose the face that seems the most familiar to them. Little do they know, but these tiny details are actually their own. 22% of the stranger’s face was morphed with features on the volunteer’s face to create a composite they’d be attracted to, without knowing why.

We can find the answer by looking at our vain brain and the way it’s developed. Our brains process faces differently than objects. Rather than seeing a face as a whole, our brains focus on separate characteristics, because these tiny details and differences help us understand other identities.

Watch the experiment unfold:

Thousands of years ago, humans had to quickly determine who was a part of their tribe and who were outside enemies. Today, this evolutionary instinct makes it our nature to like those that remind us of ourselves and sometimes, even dislike those that don’t.

Find out how strong your moral compass guides in this mini quiz:

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Think taking too much pride in our own profile isn’t a big deal? Check out even more ways our bad brain makes us sin in this week’s episode of Brain Games: Brains Behaving Badly at 9/8 c on NGC.