- Confidence is the key aspect in mental illnesses such as depression and Alzheimer's disease.
- Manipulating brain activity to boost confidence.
- Research highlights brain plasticity, indicating it is malleable even later in life.
- Artificial intelligence (AI) was used to identify specific brain patterns that could reliably tell us when a participant was in a high or low confidence state.
Self-confidence is the key quality to succeed in the world; such as in business, politics or any other aspects of our everyday life.
'Decoded Neurofeedback' technique was developed by a team of scientists to read and amplify a high confidence state in a group of 17 participants.
‘Self-confidence can be directly amplified in the brain.’
How is Confidence Represented in the Brain?
Brain scanning was used to monitor and detect the occurrence of brain pattern activities corresponding to high confidence levels in participants who were performing a simple perceptual task.
During the training sessions, whenever the occurrence of pattern of high confidence was detected the participants received a small money-based reward.
The research team boosted the confidence level of the study participants unconsciously, i.e. participants were unaware that such manipulation took place.
Interestingly, the effect could be reversed as the confidence level could also be reduced.
Dr. Mitsuo Kawato, Director of the Computational Neuroscience Laboratories at ATR, Kyoto, and one of the authors of the study, has pioneered this state-of-the-art technology said "The core challenge was then to use this information in real-time, to make the occurrence of a confident state more likely to happen in the future".
Dr. Aurelio Cortese, of the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International, Kyoto, led the research: "Surprisingly, by continuously pairing the occurrence of the highly confident state with a reward - a small amount of money - in real-time, we were able to do just that: when participants had to rate their confidence in the perceptual task at the end of the training, their were consistently more confident".
Dr. Hakwan Lau, Associate Professor in the UCLA Psychology Department, was the senior author of the study and an expert in confidence and metacognition: "Crucially, in this study confidence was measured quantitatively via rigorous psychophysics, making sure the effects were not just a change of mood or simple reporting strategy. Such changes in confidence took place even though the participants performed the relevant task at the same performance level".
The team is currently working on the development of potential new clinical treatment for patients with various psychiatric conditions.
Decoded Neurofeedback (DecNef)
DecNef is the process of inducing knowledge in a subject by boosting the neural activation in predetermined regions in the brain such as visual cortex. The neural activity is measured via functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI).
Studies Using DecNef
Research study published in Current Biology
(July 2016) reveals the use of A-DecNef technique that induces associative learning, may be used as a key tool for understanding and modifying brain functions. Associative learning is an important brain process by which someone learns the link between two stimuli, or a behavior and a stimulus.
Study conducted by Jorge Moll and co-workers unlocked new possibilities for promoting prosocial emotions and countering antisocial behavior.
5 Simple Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence
- Smiling improves your confidence - so Smile more
- Believe in yourself and be yourself
- Celebrate your achievements
- Identify your passions in life
- Visualize your dreams
- Aurelio Cortese et al. Multivoxel neurofeedback selectively modulates confidence without changing perceptual performance; Nature Communications; (2016) DOI: 10.1038/ncomms13669
- Amano et al. Learning To Associate Orientation With Color In Early Visual Areas By Associative Decoded fMRI Neurofeedback; Current Biology; (July 2016) DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.05.014
- Moll J et al. Voluntary Enhancement of Neural Signatures of Affiliative Emotion Using fMRI Neurofeedback; PLoS One; (May 2014) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0097343
- 11 Easy Ways to Boost Your Confidence - (http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/11-easy-ways-boost-your-confidence-2-2.html)