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    Thread: Electrical Brain Stimulation May Evoke a Person's 'Will to Persevere'

    1. #1
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      Electrical Brain Stimulation May Evoke a Person's 'Will to Persevere'

      Dec. 5, 2013 — What gives some people the ability to persevere through difficult situations that others may find insurmountable?

      The answer is no doubt a complicated one that may be beyond our full understanding, but new research publishing online December 5 in the Cell Press journal Neuron provides some intriguing insights. The study pinpoints a region of the brain that, when stimulated, causes an individual to anticipate a challenge and possess a strong motivation to overcome it.

      "That few electrical pulses delivered to a population of brain cells in conscious human individuals give rise to such a high level set of emotions and thoughts we associate with a human virtue such as perseverance tells us that our unique human qualities are anchored dearly in the operation of our brain cells," says lead author Dr. Josef Parvizi, of the Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences at Stanford University.
      The study conducted by Dr. Parvizi and his team involved two individuals with epilepsy who had electrodes implanted in their brains to help doctors learn about the source of their seizures. The electrodes were situated in the anterior midcingulate cortex, a brain region that is thought to be involved in emotions, pain, and decision making.
      When electrical charge was delivered to a location within this region, both patients described feeling the expectation of an imminent challenge coupled with a determined attitude to surmount it. This was accompanied by increased heart rate and physical sensations in the chest and neck. They did not experience any of these psychological or physical effects when they thought that their brains were being stimulated but no electrical charge was delivered. The same effects did not occur with stimulation of nearby regions only 5 mm away.
      Imaging experiments conducted in Dr. Michael Greicius' laboratory at Stanford revealed that the site of stimulation in both patients was at the core of a network linking the anterior midcingulate cortex to other regions of the brain. "Our study pinpoints the precise anatomical coordinates of neuronal populations, and their associated network, that support complex psychological and behavioral states associated with perseverance," explains Dr. Parvizi.
      The findings suggest that differences in the structure and function of this network may be linked with innate differences in our abilities to cope during tough situations. The results may even pertain to psychopathological conditions in which people experience a significantly reduced capacity to endure psychological or physical distress.
      "These innate differences might potentially be identified in childhood and be modified by behavioral therapy, medication, or, as suggested here, electrical stimulation," says Dr. Parvizi.

      This is the whole text - but here the link: Electrical brain stimulation may evoke a person's 'will to persevere'

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      I hope this can be possible with transcranial magnetic stimulation
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      Yeah - that would be really cool!
      If you think about it - this is one more thing, that when it works nicely - is seen as a virtue.
      And if it doesnīt - people will think, they can draw conclusions on your character - which in turn is seen as something, a person can build up on their own merit.
      This is very interesting terrain in my eyes - in general - freedom of will does belong here as well.
      The more biological associations are shown to be there - the more concepts like guilt, blame, virtue - get a bit of a jumbling up.

      On the other hand - clearly the thinking and behaviour of a person does change the actual biological features and functionality of brain tissue in itīs turn.
      I have not really thought through a lot of what I read on the topic - final opinion on free will and choice pending..

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      I have not really thought through a lot of what I read on the topic - final opinion on free will and choice pending..
      It surely seems to have some implication on free will debate, but honestly i donīt think they can solve this issue until the relationship between mind, brain and consciousness interactions are understood. I donīt know but i think the answer about free will may not be black or white. And, anyway, for me the most important is to have the feeling that i have free will, which most of us have ( except in very emotionally charged situations )

      I am more quick to wonder how this can be applied to treat psychological issues that lead to avoidance, procrastination, depression, and so on.
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