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May 8, 2024

The Neuroscience of Judgement: Impacts on Our Body and Mind

BY Marc Mathys
Humans are naturally inclined to judge others as an inherent survival mechanism. However, over time, this instinctive behavior has evolved to encompass less life-threatening scenarios, often leading to negative impacts on our body and mind. Neuroscience provides a fascinating window into how the act of judging others affects us.
The Neuroscience of Judgement When we judge others, our brain activates the amygdala, known as the emotion center of the brain, and the prefrontal cortex, responsible for decision-making and social behavior. These areas work together to form an opinion about others based on their appearance, actions, or words. The amygdala triggers a stress response, releasing hormones like cortisol and adrenaline that prepare the body to respond to perceived threats. 
Physical Effects: 
The Stress Response This stress response, when triggered frequently due to constant judgement, can have detrimental effects on our physical health. Chronic exposure to stress hormones can lead to a weakened immune system, high blood pressure, heart disease, and other health problems. Additionally, the constant state of alertness can lead to sleep disturbances and fatigue. 
Psychological Effects: 
Cognitive Bias and Mental Health Judging others also has a significant impact on our mental health. When we judge, we often rely on cognitive biases, which are systematic errors in thinking that can affect our decisions and judgements. These biases can lead to a distorted perception of reality and can contribute to anxiety and depression. Moreover, frequent judgement can lead to a negative feedback loop. When we judge others negatively, it often leads to feelings of guilt and self-criticism. This cycle can perpetuate feelings of low self-esteem and depression. 
Social Effects: 
Isolation and Miscommunication Judgment not only affects our physical and mental health but also our social relationships. It can lead to misunderstanding and miscommunication, reducing empathy, and fostering isolation. It can also create a hostile environment, hampering effective communication and cooperation.
The Path to Less Judgement Understanding the neuroscience behind judgement and its effects on our mind and body can motivate us to practice less judgement. One way to achieve this  involves being present in the moment and accepting it without judgement. Regular mindfulness practices have been shown to reduce activity in the amygdala, thereby reducing the stress response. 
 

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Hello I’m Marc the creator of the Reset-it program and a TedX speaker.

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