Tag Archives: brain

Brain System For Emotional Self-Control

Different brain areas are activated when we choose to suppress an emotion, compared to when we are instructed to inhibit an emotion, according a new study from the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Ghent University.
In this study, published in Brain Structure and Function, the researchers scanned the brains of healthy participants and found that key brain systems were activated when choosing for oneself to suppress an emotion. They had previously linked this brain area to deciding to inhibit movement.
“This result shows that emotional self-control involves a quite different brain system from simply being told how to respond emotionally,” said lead author Dr Simone Kuhn (Ghent University).
In most previous studies, participants were instructed to feel or inhibit an emotional response. However, in everyday life we are rarely told to suppress our emotions, and usually have to decide ourselves whether to feel or control our emotions.
In this new study the researchers showed fifteen healthy women unpleasant or frightening pictures. The participants were given a choice to feel the emotion elicited by the image, or alternatively to inhibit the emotion, by distancing themselves through an act of self-control.
The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to scan the brains of the participants. They compared this brain activity to another experiment where the participants were instructed to feel or inhibit their emotions, rather than choose for themselves.
Different parts of the brain were activated in the two situations. When participants decided for themselves to inhibit negative emotions, the scientists found activation in the dorso-medial prefrontal area of the brain. They had previously linked this brain area to deciding to inhibit movement.
In contrast, when participants were instructed by the experimenter to inhibit the emotion, a second, more lateral area was activated.
“We think controlling one’s emotions and controlling one’s behavior involve overlapping mechanisms,” said Dr Kuhn.
“We should distinguish between voluntary and instructed control of emotions, in the same way as we can distinguish between making up our own mind about what do, versus following instructions.”
Regulating emotions is part of our daily life, and is important for our mental health. For example, many people have to conquer fear of speaking in public, while some professionals such as health-care workers and firemen have to maintain an emotional distance from unpleasant or distressing scenes that occur in their jobs.
Professor Patrick Haggard (UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience) co-author of the paper said the brain mechanism identified in this study could be a potential target for therapies.
“The ability to manage one’s own emotions is affected in many mental health conditions, so identifying this mechanism opens interesting possibilities for future research.
“Most studies of emotion processing in the brain simply assume that people passively receive emotional stimuli, and automatically feel the corresponding emotion. In contrast, the area we have identified may contribute to some individuals’ ability to rise above particular emotional situations.
“This kind of self-control mechanism may have positive aspects, for example making people less vulnerable to excessive emotion. But altered function of this brain area could also potentially lead to difficulties in responding appropriately to emotional situations.”

Left-right side brain test part II

 

  It seems that lots of folks have emailed me about all sorts of other left/right side brain tests/quizzes online.  Here are the top 3 tests.

Hemispheric Dominance Inventory Test: This test has 18 questions and you choice between 2 answers. I like the questions they seem interesting and thought provoking.

Right Brain vs Left Brain Creativity Test: This test of 54 questions is multiple choice with 4 choices and all of the questions are on one page like the test above. Some repeating of questions, which is fairly standard in personality type tests.

Brain Test Left and Right: This test has 20 questions each on a separate page, which means lots of chances to expose the visitor to ugly, distracting, blinking ads. I did like the fact that some questions are about shapes, very different than the other tests.

j0438746

Left-right side brain test

brain-anatomy-colored

  Do you know what the attributes of your right and left sides of your brain?  Listed below are the common elements of left and right brain hemisphere’s. Plus go here to take the left/right side brain test to see    which side may be dominant.

Left Hemisphere – Rational

Responds to verbal instructions
Problem solves by logically and sequentially looking at the parts of things
Looks at differences
Is planned and structured
Prefers established, certain information
Prefers talking and writing
Prefers multiple choice tests
Controls feelings
Prefers ranked authority structures

 

Right Hemisphere – Intuitive

Responds to demonstrated instructions
Problem solves with hunches, looking for patterns and configurations
Looks at similarities
Is fluid and spontaneous
Prefers elusive, uncertain information
Prefers drawing and manipulating objects
Prefers open ended questions
Free with feelings
Prefers collegial authority structures