Dr. Jorge Moll: The Brain of a Soccer Fan

The natural grouping is the basic human need to belong, which is inherently rooted in our brains. Is the need to belong to a certain sports team really neurological? According to Dr. Jorge Moll, natural grouping is ingroup attachment that causes people to feel the need to belong to a certain group or team. Dr. Jorge Moll is the neuroscientist and senior author of a study that was based on soccer fans. The research study was conducted at the D’Or Institute for Research and Education (IDOR) where Dr. Jorge Moll is the president and has worked with this Institute since 2007. The study was conducted to prove the existence of natural grouping.

The research study included around 27 fans of Brazilian soccer teams. The research study was easier to conduct on soccer fans because they show a great example of the ecological sense of belonging. The intended result of the study is to test the subject’s selfless behavior in his/her classified group. One of the tests involved was a pressure test; researchers create a distantly effortful task to analyze participant’s commitment to acquire money for themselves or to be donated to other participants. The study was conducted by participants squeezing a pressure device in their hands during the experiment, which allowed researchers to calculate their authentic motivation during the study. Larger quantities of money required large amounts of pressure; the result showed that participants invested more effort to benefit unknown fans of their own soccer club compared to their efforts for non-fans. However, the most effort was put in for themselves to gain money.

Due to Dr. Jorge Moll’s study, they may be able to better address antisocial behavioral causes. Many questions were answered by this survey. The inability to find a significant group could lead to an identity crisis and antisocial behavior. Jorge Moll’s analysis of the brain activity of participants showed that the medial orbitofrontal cortex (MOFC), the part of the brain responsible for choosing alternatives, had the most activity. To conclude, there is evidence that basic human need to belong is rooted in our brains.

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