CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — All anxiety is not created equal, and a research team at the University of Illinois now has the data to prove it. The team has found the most compelling evidence yet of differing patterns of brain activity associated with each of two types of anxiety: anxious apprehension (verbal rumination, worry) and anxious arousal (intense fear, panic, or both).
Worriers have more activity in their left inferior frontal lobe. Whereas people feeling panic or fear are feeling the effects of activity in the right inferior temporal lobe.
The researchers used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to map the brain areas with heightened neural activity during a variety of psychological probes.
As the researchers had predicted, the anxious apprehension group exhibited enhanced left-brain activity and the anxious arousal group had heightened activity in the right brain. The anxious apprehension group showed increased activity in a region of the left inferior frontal lobe that is associated with speech production. The anxious arousal group had more activity in a region of the right-hemisphere inferior temporal lobe that is believed to be involved in tracking and responding to information signaling danger.
Better understanding eventually brings with it better ability to manipulate and control. Picture a future where nanotubes can get extended up arteries into the brain. The nanotubes could be used to locally deliver drugs or electrical pulses to excite or suppress activity in particular parts of the brain.
Of course the ability to stimulate particular kinds of emotions and mental states would enable some pretty severe abuse and manipulation of human behavior. But individuals could use such technology to control crippling emotional conditions. Plus, imagine turning up the motivation to work hard when you want to get more done.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2007 June 02 03:37 PM Brain Emotions|