Neuroscience: how do contrarians think?

February 25, 2018 (translated from French)…

What happens in the brain of a man who chooses to free himself from the common opinion? Neuroscience has for many years been interested in anti-conformist personalities. The challenge is important because these individuals help to change society and advance science.

Among researchers, they are few in questioning the dogmas and take the risk of being attacked or even marginalized by their peers. The story is rich, however, of those scientists who, like Albert Einstein or Marie Curie, came out of the nail and revolutionized their discipline.

Natural selection seems to favor conformism in individuals. At the same time, evolution preserves a minority of out-of-the-ordinary ideas, the creativity of which could well condition, no more and no less, the survival of the species. The mathematician Cédric Villani and the engineer Thanh Nghiem call to valorize these atypical individuals. They believe that those they have dubbed “crazy toads” are the best at inventing new models in a world shaken by climate change, digital upheaval and terrorism.

Ten years of solitary combat for the Lyme disease specialist …

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