Researchers are now claiming to change the brain’s wiring to regulate emotional reactions with a simple computer-training task.
Dr. Noga Cohen from the Ben-Gurion University said that these findings are the first to demonstrate that non-emotional training that improves the ability to ignore irrelevant information can result in reduced brain reactions to emotional events and alter brain connections.
Cohen added that these changes were accompanied by strengthened neural connections between brain’s regions involved in inhibiting emotional reactions.
The researchers hope to examine the impact of this non-emotional training on individuals, who are depressed or anxious. It may also be helpful for those at high risk of developing high blood pressure reactions to emotional information.
They added that such future directions carry important potential clinical implications for a large percentage of the population and this cognitive training can be easily employed with different populations, such as children, elderly adults, and individuals with neurological or psychiatric disorders.
After the study, the researchers found that the participants who completed more intense version of the training showed reduced activation in their amygdala – a brain region involved in negative emotions, including sadness and anxiety.
A previous study led by these authors has already shown that similar training can reduce the tendency to be submersed in a repetitive-thinking cycle about a negative life event.
The study is published in the Journal NeuroImage.