Navigation Links
People control thoughts better when they see their brain activity: UBC study
Date:4/8/2011

As humans face increasing distractions in their personal and professional lives, University of British Columbia researchers have discovered that people can gain greater control over their thoughts with real-time brain feedback.

The study is the world's first investigation of how real-time functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) feedback from the brain region responsible for higher-order thoughts, including introspection, affects our ability to control these thoughts. The researchers find that real-time brain feedback significantly improves people's ability to control their thoughts and effectively 'train their brains.'

"Just like athletes in training benefit from a coach's guidance, feedback from our brain can help us to be more aware of our thoughts," says co-author Prof. Kalina Christoff, UBC Dept. of Psychology. "Our findings suggest that the ability to control our thinking improves when we know how the corresponding area in our brain is behaving."

For the study, published the current issue of NeuroImage journal, participants performed tasks that either raised or lowered mental introspection in 30-second intervals over four six-minute sessions. fMRI technology tracked real-time activity in the rostrolateral prefrontal cortex (RLPFC), the region of the brain involved with higher-order thoughts.

Participants with access to real-time fMRI feedback could see their RLPFC activity increase during introspection and decrease during non-introspective thoughts, such as mental tasks that focused on body sensations. These participants used the feedback to guide their thoughts, which significantly improved their ability to control their thoughts and successfully perform the mental tasks. In contrast, participants given inaccurate or no brain feedback did not achieve any improvement in brain regulation.

"When participants saw their brain reacting to their thoughts, they knew whether they were performing the task well or poorly, and they could adjust their thoughts accordingly," says co-author Graeme McCaig, a graduate of UBC's Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering's Human Computer Interaction specialization. "As a result, participants who received the real-time feedback were able to focus on the mental task more consistently."

The study points to the possibility of improving our everyday lives through fMRI-assisted advances in our ability to focus our minds on personal or professional matters, according to the research team, which includes Matt Dixon, Kamyar Keramatian and Irene Liu.

The findings also raise hope for clinical treatments of conditions that can benefit from improved awareness and regulation of one's thoughts, including depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorders, the researchers says. For example, with increased availability of fMRI technology, real-time brain feedback represents a potentially important complement to feedback provided by a therapist or a patient's own self-monitoring ability.


'/>"/>

Contact: Basil Waugh
basil.waugh@ubc.ca
604-822-2048
University of British Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Researchers note differences between people and animals on calorie restriction
2. Forest peoples rights key to reducing emissions from deforestation
3. Bird flu vaccine protects people and pets
4. DigitalPersona Places Identity Protection at Peoples Fingertips
5. New evidence that people make aspirins active principle -- salicylic acid
6. When it comes to sleep research, fruit flies and people make unlikely bedfellows
7. 2 genes influence social behavior, visual-spatial performance in people with Williams syndrome
8. Neurological work-arounds offer hope to people with monoamine-related disorders
9. MIT: Using touch to help deaf people
10. 1 drug may help people both lay down the drink and put out the cigarette
11. UW-Madison study reveals new options for people with PKU
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/9/2016)... -- Elevay is currently known as the ... high net worth professionals seeking travel for work   ... there is still no substitute for a face-to-face meeting. ... deal with a firm handshake. This is why wealthy ... citizenship via investment programs like those offered by the ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... , April 27, 2016 ... "Global Multi-modal Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report to their ... , The analysts forecast the global ... of 15.49% during the period 2016-2020.  ... of sectors such as the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid patients in ... clinical standard in telehealth thanks to a new partnership ... platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely track key health measurements, ... index, and, when they opt in, share them with ... a local retail location at no cost. By leveraging ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2016)... ... May 23, 2016 , ... PrecisionAg® Media ... in 2017 and Beyond. The paper outlines the key trends that are creating ... , “We’ve witnessed a lot of highs and lows as the precision agriculture ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... ... May 23, 2016 , ... RoviSys, a leading independent ... Aurora, Ohio, has broken ground on a new building in Holly Springs, NC. ... this new location solidifies a commitment to business in the region. The new ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... ... May 20, 2016 , ... Kablooe Design, a leading ... today announced its official 25th anniversary of the business. “We have worked hard to ... to our customers for the privilege and honor of serving their product design and ...
(Date:5/19/2016)... , May 19, 2016  AdvancedFlow Systems Inc. ... (AGI), based out of Maple Ridge, ... Ltd. to its existing portfolio of contract manufacturing ... AFS along with its sister companies Surround Technologies ... vertically integrated industrial group that specializes in providing ...
Breaking Biology Technology: