Archive for the ‘motivation’ Category

Doctors in the US have induced feelings of intense determination in two men by stimulating a part of their brains with gentle electric currents.

The men were having a routine procedure to locate regions in their brains that caused epileptic seizures when they felt their heart rates rise, a sense of foreboding, and an overwhelming desire to persevere against a looming hardship.

The remarkable findings could help researchers develop treatments for depression and other disorders where people are debilitated by a lack of motivation.

One patient said the feeling was like driving a car into a raging storm. When his brain was stimulated, he sensed a shaking in his chest and a surge in his pulse. In six trials, he felt the same sensations time and again.

Comparing the feelings to a frantic drive towards a storm, the patient said: “You’re only halfway there and you have no other way to turn around and go back, you have to keep going forward.”

When asked by doctors to elaborate on whether the feeling was good or bad, he said: “It was more of a positive thing, like push harder, push harder, push harder to try and get through this.”

A second patient had similar feelings when his brain was stimulated in the same region, called the anterior midcingulate cortex (aMCC). He felt worried that something terrible was about to happen, but knew he had to fight and not give up, according to a case study in the journal Neuron.

Both men were having an exploratory procedure to find the focal point in their brains that caused them to suffer epileptic fits. In the procedure, doctors sink fine electrodes deep into different parts of the brain and stimulate them with tiny electrical currents until the patient senses the “aura” that precedes a seizure. Often, seizures can be treated by removing tissue from this part of the brain.

“In the very first patient this was something very unexpected, and we didn’t report it,” said Josef Parvizi at Stanford University in California. But then I was doing functional mapping on the second patient and he suddenly experienced a very similar thing.”

“Its extraordinary that two individuals with very different past experiences respond in a similar way to one or two seconds of very low intensity electricity delivered to the same area of their brain. These patients are normal individuals, they have their IQ, they have their jobs. We are not reporting these findings in sick brains,” Parvizi said.

The men were stimulated with between two and eight milliamps of electrical current, but in tests the doctors administered sham stimulation too. In the sham tests, they told the patients they were about to stimulate the brain, but had switched off the electical supply. In these cases, the men reported no changes to their feelings. The sensation was only induced in a small area of the brain, and vanished when doctors implanted electrodes just five millimetres away.

Parvizi said a crucial follow-up experiment will be to test whether stimulation of the brain region really makes people more determined, or simply creates the sensation of perseverance. If future studies replicate the findings, stimulation of the brain region – perhaps without the need for brain-penetrating electrodes – could be used to help people with severe depression.

The anterior midcingulate cortex seems to be important in helping us select responses and make decisions in light of the feedback we get. Brent Vogt, a neurobiologist at Boston University, said patients with chronic pain and obsessive-compulsive disorder have already been treated by destroying part of the aMCC. “Why not stimulate it? If this would enhance relieving depression, for example, let’s go,” he said.

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/dec/05/determination-electrical-brain-stimulation

Thanks to Kebmodee for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.

IT may be what left-wingers have always suspected but a study has linked “low-effort thought” to political conservatism.

Psychologist and co-author Scott Eidelman, from the University of Arkansas, said the paper showed subjects swung right when put on the spot.

“People endorse conservative ideology more when they have to give a first or fast response,” Dr Eidelman said.

“This low-effort thinking seems to favour political conservatism, suggesting that it may be our default ideology. To be clear, we are not saying that conservatives think lightly.”

Dr Eidelman clarified this further when asked by The Huffington Post, saying: “Our research shows that low-effort thought promotes political conservatism, not that political conservatives use low-effort thinking.”

The study tested subjects in two settings – a bar and a laboratory.

In the bar the drunker people became, the more conservative they became. However, this was not because of the alcohol, say the authors.

A similar test in a laboratory found subjects began to give similarly conservative responses when put on the spot or asked to respond quickly and under pressure.

The latest study follows one published in February in the journal Psychological Science which showed children who scored low on intelligence tests gravitated towards conservative politics as adults.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/technology/sci-tech/study-in-psychological-science-journal-connects-conservatism-with-low-intelligence/story-fn5fsgyc-1226322977357#ixzz1rkRDITEN

 

A man who almost died after cutting his own foot off so he could stay on jobless benefits has been told he might still qualify for work despite his amputation.

Long term unemployed Hans Url, 56, had just been told his hand-outs would stop if he did not accept work found for him by job centre staff.

And when his claims that he was too sick and did not like the work were challenged with the offer of a medical, he took drastic measures.

Url, of Mitterlabill, southern Austria, rigged up a mitre saw and sliced off his foot – then put it in the oven for good measure to ensure no surgeon could reattach it.

But job centre staff have delivered a blow to hapless Url’s plan by saying his new disability does not rule him out for work.

Police spokesman Franz Fasching said: ‘The planning was meticulous.

‘He waited until his wife and his adult son had left the house and he was alone.

‘He then switched it on and sliced off his left foot above the ankle – throwing it in the fire so it would not be possible to reattach it before he called emergency services.

‘He then made his way to the garage where he called emergency services and waited for them to arrive.

The police added that the man had almost died from loss of blood before the emergency services arrived and that they had recovered the foot from the oven – but that it had been too badly burned to reattach.

He was airlifted to hospital in Graz where his condition was said to be stable after emergency surgery to seal the wound.

A hospital spokesman said: ‘The foot was too badly burned to reattach. All we could do was seal the wound. He had lost a lot of blood – he almost died on the way to hospital. He was put in an artificial coma.’

The police spokesman Fasching added that they were investigating the case as an attempted suicide.

But Feldbach AMS job centre spokesman Hermann Gössinger said: ‘This is a tragic case but it will not help the man.

‘His latest excuse had been a bad back which is why he had been sent for a medical.

‘But even now losing a foot does not automatically mean he will not be able to work. He will be assessed once he is out of hospital and we will see what work we can find for him.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2121100/Man-saws-foot-avoid-work-continue-claiming-jobless-benefits.html#ixzz1qXMdOIKC

What Motivates Us To Work

Posted: July 19, 2011 in motivation