UCLA-led research could offer treatment for mental health disorders

December 15, 2016
Study subjects were conditioned to fear certain color patterns, but researchers found that small rewards got them to subconsciously overcome those fears.
Christelle Snow/UCLA

A new brain scan method uncovers how confidence is displayed within the brain and may indicate how individuals might overcome fear and build self-confidence. UCLA researchers asked participants to remain seated in an fMRI where patterns of vertical lines in varying colors were shown. Some colors were exhibited with a corresponding shock transmitted to the subject several times and caused a sense of fear to register. However, once the researchers shared that small monetary rewards would be awarded when the negatively-associated color displayed, the individual’s fear response was lessened given the paring with a positive outcome.With the ability to see how high and low confidence is represented in brain patterns, researchers may be able to decode thoughts on food, love, money and other concepts which, in turn, may lead to design treatments for addressing mental health disorders.

Source: Analyzing brain patterns may help neuroscientists increase people’s confidence, reduce fear UCLA Newsroom, 15 Dec 2016

Additional coverage on this study:

Scientists manipulate brain activity to boost confidence PsychCentral, 01 Jan 2017

Manipulating brain activity to boost confidence ScienceDaily, 15 Dec 2016