Can you hack your brain to get more motivation?
We know we should take the cigarette away or use the gym membership, but now we don’t. Still, there is a large group of neurons in our brains that are critical to motivation. What if you could hack them to motivate yourself?
These neurons are located in the middle of the brain called the ventral tegmental area. A piece of paper published in the journal on Thursday shows that we can train a little bit of activation.
The researchers included 73 people in fMRI, a scanner that detects which parts of the brain are most active and focuses on the areas associated with motivation. When researchers say “energize yourself and let this part of your brain light up”, people can’t really do that.
“They’re not reliable,” said Dr. Alison Adcock, a psychiatrist at duke university. “we say, ‘go!
This changed when participants were allowed to watch the neural feedback timing of the activity displayed on their ventral tegmental area. As the activity increased, participants saw the device warming up in the fMRI tube.
Neuroscientist John gabriele “(John Gabrieli) said:” your whole mind can use the way you’ve never imagined dialogue with certain parts of the brain, and then get feedback, help you discover how to make this part of the brain into up and down. Who didn’t work at MIT.
The use of fMRI, says Gabrieli, is more effective than other older tools, such as placing electrodes on the skull or electroencephalogram. “MRI allows you to target a particular brain system or structure, the EEG doesn’t, and when we measure the electrical activity, we don’t know where it comes from. He says he has not seen convincing evidence that commercially available eeg feedback has helped people change their behavior.
Two researchers, Kathryn Dickerson and Jeff MacInnes, tested the system on their own. Not all jobs. Dixon said she tried to think of different memories, which allowed the feedback instrument to cool. “The zipper lining is very interesting, but [thinking] is terrible and has no effect.”
So she changed tack and tried to give herself a speech on the scanner. “I’m like, ‘come on, Katie, move the thermometer away and move it away. “And I just hit myself, it’s very effective,” she said. “It’s exciting.”
‘it’s exhausting,’ he says. “The experience of this task is very difficult, and you are asked to generate these intense motivational states for more than 20 seconds, which is very exhausting.
The study participants had similar experiences, Adcock said. Some people sing their songs to themselves, or imagine an angry coach Shouting at them. “My personal favorite is that everyone gives you a fifth of a high score,” says Adcock. When she took the feedback timer, participants were able to light up their ventral tegmental area by thinking about the same thing.
Adcock believes that people are really changing their mood. They really become more focused and eager. And this effect seems to be beginning to develop into the brain involved in learning and memory,
“We thought it was exciting because after the training, things changed,” Dickerson said. “the brain is not the same thing. “She thinks people may be reaching a mindset that is more conducive to learning and motivation.
If this is true, it will be very useful, says Gabrieli. He says using MRI to control parts of our brain has been done. “[but this is] the first study shows that it can be applied to the most important brain structure of human motivation, which is very valuable for what people want to accomplish in life.
Or it may be applicable to habits that are really hard to start or break, says Gabrieli. “What’s exciting is whether people can now use upcoming studies to control challenging behavior,” he said. “Healthy habits, eating habits, stop smoking, can addicts use this success?”
It may one day become a clinical tool. For example, this particular cluster of midbrain neurons is part of the dopamine system. Adcock believes that activating neurons in this way may also release dopamine, a drug that can replace certain diseases.
“For example, in ADHD, we use stimulants that release brain chemicals,” says Adcock. “Does this technology produce the same dopamine release as stimulants? If we teach people to use it, we can influence our attention.
But no one knows whether this change brain chemistry McGinnis said, more experiment and test, they need to look at, they can see the brain activation actually release dopamine or other neurochemicals.
Adcock has not yet studied whether anyone actually changed their behavior after the MRI meeting.
Since the study, people have been trying the same strategies to stimulate their daily lives, according to Adcock. If it’s running, MRI brain training may be the way we get into willpower.
That would be great, says Gabrieli.