Let's Get Fired Up
We know we should go to exercise class or put some habit down, but in a given moment, we might not do what we should. A cluster of brain neurons, however, are the ones critical to motivate. What if you could hack into them?
A new paper published by the journal Neuron suggests that we can train ourselves to do just that.
People undergoing an MRI were asked to try to do it, and their measured brain patterns showed no success. But, the same participants watching a neurofeedback device attached to the region of the brain, once seeing it light up, were able to “turn up” that part of the brain – after seeing something motivating, they were able to increase the motivation themselves.
“Your whole mind is allowed to speak to a specific part of your brain in a way you never imagined before,” John Gabrieli explained to writer Angus Chen, reporting for MindShift.
One of the researchers tried to activate the motivation part of the brain herself by giving herself pep talks. “I was like, ‘Come on, move the thermometer. Just do it and move it.’ And I just pumped myself up,” she said. Some study participants sang Queen songs or imagined a coach yelling at them or a scenario where teammates were high-fiving them and such.
At the same time, while getting pumped up, the effort to change the brain was fatiguing, the researcher and several of the subjects reported.
Still, the experiment showed that people can change brain activity, and the state of mind isn’t quite the same – it can be made more conducive to motivation and/or learning.
To read the entire article, go here.