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.'
This result would be a lot more interesting if MR scanners did not cost $1 million to $3 million. Superconducting cools supercooled make for an expensive machine. What's a cheaper way to do this? What are the prospects for room temperature superconductors?
Train your brain to make your rostrolateral prefrontal cortex (RLPFC) think more higher-order thoughts. Any way to do this without an fMRI machine?
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.
What would also be helpful: A graphical display above one's desk that shows how much people coming in to ask questions are cutting into mental output. Recent mental productivity should be shown going back and hour or so with a live feed. Then a pair of bars on a bar graph could show how much mental work one has done so far and how much one could have done without interrupts.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2011 April 13 08:51 PM Brain Enhancement|