Human brain ingredients in the existence of bad people in our life.

Mahmud Asrul
6 min readDec 11, 2022

Some people said that if you want to change your life start by changing your own brain. Pre-Frontal Cortex (PFC) is one of the parts of our brain that have the responsibility to differentiate between good and bad decisions. Looking back on our understanding, bad people get called bad people because they create bad decisions and it’s vice versa for good people.

PFC is located in our forehead, here’s a picture of our PFC location

After acknowledging that it’s PFC’s responsibility (still intercorrelated with other parts of the brain), here’s come the intriguing part. Let’s assume that the current technology is very sophisticated that we can create a superhuman ability to increase the PFC capabilities to the maximal point, what would it be?

What will be guaranteed with that inhuman PFC capabilities?

Because we should agree that the fact you wouldn’t create a bad decision if you know it’s a bad decision isn’t it?

What we can infer from the research experiment on our PFC activities when doing a cheat.

I’ve seen some research on how our brain reacts when cheating on something (it can be an exam, a girlfriend, or anything ) in our PFC. There’s one researcher who gave a test to 50 people where they have to finish a task of a problem, but at the same time they got the cheat sheet (if they use it will be considered cheating)

And at the end of the experiments resulting like this:

  1. For those who didn’t cheat their PFC activity is monotone and has no pulse at all.
  2. Meanwhile, for the rest who uses the cheat sheet, their PFC activity looks like a spike.

One possible inference from these results is that the PFC plays a role in decision-making and impulse control and that individuals who engage in dishonest behavior may exhibit different patterns of PFC activity compared to those who do not cheat. It is also possible that using a cheat sheet activates the PFC in a way that is different from simply trying to solve a problem or task without the use of external aids.

Further research would be needed to confirm these inferences and to better understand the relationship between PFC activity and cheating behavior. Additionally, it would be important to control for other factors that may influence PFC activity, such as individual differences in cognitive abilities and problem-solving strategies.

A good decision-maker doesn’t guarantee the character of someone.

A good decision-maker refers to someone who has the ability to make thoughtful and well-considered choices. This may involve considering multiple options and their potential outcomes, weighing the pros and cons of each option, and making a decision based on logical reasoning and careful analysis.

While being a good decision-maker is certainly an important skill to have, it does not necessarily guarantee the character of someone. Character refers to the unique qualities and traits that make up an individual’s personality and identity. It includes attributes such as honesty, integrity, compassion, and courage, which may not necessarily be related to decision-making ability.

Therefore, while a good decision-maker may be able to make choices that are logical and well-considered, this does not necessarily mean that they will always exhibit good character. For example, a good decision-maker may choose to act in a dishonest or unethical way, even if this goes against their own moral principles. In this way, a person’s character is not solely determined by their ability to make good decisions, but also by the values and beliefs that they hold and the choices they make based on those values and beliefs.

How does being aware of your “moral compass” can help you not create a bad decision?

Your “moral compass” refers to your internalized set of values and beliefs that guide your moral reasoning and decision-making. This can include things like your personal moral code, your religious or spiritual beliefs, and your cultural and societal values.

Being aware of your moral compass can help you avoid making bad decisions because it provides you with a framework for making moral judgments. By understanding your own values and beliefs, you can more easily identify which actions and behaviors align with your moral principles, and which do not. This can help you make choices that are consistent with your moral beliefs, rather than acting in ways that go against your own values.

For example, if your moral compass includes a belief in honesty and integrity, being aware of this belief can help you avoid making decisions that involve lying or cheating. By recognizing the importance of honesty to your own moral beliefs, you can make choices that align with this value, rather than acting in ways that go against it.

Building your own identity to help your character development.

I’ve seen some insights about the correlation between identity, character development, and decision-making.

character → decision making → create an Identity of yourself

but you can do it also deductively or with a reverse approach, by

creating your own identity → decision making → build a character

The tipping point is when you create your own identity or a new brand of how you perceive yourself, you will think twice about whether you’re going to create a decision or not because of the identity on yourself that you’ve put on it. One thing is for sure, we need to differentiate identity and label this will be another topic because I believe “labeling” is a two-sided sword because there will be no one that enough to be labeled in one label, myself is too big to be constrained by the label. One of example how identity can help you to create decision is by one of story that also inspired me to bring this topic is Afutami (one of my favorite book author), she put the identity for herself is as imperfect environmentalist, here are some of the thoughts when she put herself as imperfect environmentalist

  • Is it the Afutami (the imperfect environmentalist) would do?
  • What would imperfect environmentalist do if they see this
  • What for I am doing this, why do I have to create my own identity as imperfect environmentalist?

By developing a strong and distinct sense of self, you can become more confident and assertive, and better able to make decisions and choices that are true to your own values and beliefs.

Bronfenbrenner Theory (human development)

When I have a conversation with my psychology friends at the University of Indonesia, she tells me about this theorem, and because I think it’s relevant and make sense so that I put this theorem to my medium.

According to Bronfenbrenner’s theory, the microsystem is the immediate environment that a child interacts with on a daily basis, such as family, friends, and teachers. The mesosystem is the connection between different elements of the microsystem, such as the relationship between a child’s family and school. The exosystem is the broader environment that a child is not directly involved in, but still affects their development, such as the community in which they live. Finally, the macrosystem is the cultural and societal context in which a child is raised, such as the country they live in and its cultural norms and values.

So basically, it’s true that we all developed by our closest system or circumstances. I think this is one of the roots of why our parents don’t want to put us in a bad environment because everything is intercorrelated in our character development journey. By being aware of our position, environment, and our existence, we can try to find a way to build our own character.’

“Your character will be what you yourself choose to make it.” — L. Frank Baum

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