RESEARCHERS FROM Ben Gurion University in Beersheva have discovered a way to positively influence the way we manage negative emotional reactions.
Thanks to simple brain-training exercises on a computer, Noga Cohen, the author of the study, found that people can be taught to ignore irrelevant information, minimising reactions to emotive events.
In the study, recently published in the journal NeuroImage, 26 healthy adults were asked to perform nonemotional training tasks focused on improving their ability to ignore irrel- evant information. Their brains were monitored as they were asked to identify whether a target arrow pointed to the right or the left, ignoring the directions of other arrows around it.
Then the participants were asked to ignore emotive pictures with negative connotations.
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging scans, researchers assessed the connections between different regions of the brain during both exercises.
Dr Cohen said she hoped the research would “lead to further testing and potentially the development of intervention for individuals suffering from maladaptive emotional behaviour”.