If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place
Psychology has catapulted the human race forward, allowing us to shed a light on the grand mystery that is the mind and our thoughts. Because of our great strides in the science of the mind, we are now capable of remedying many of life’s problems and the calamities that face our everyday lives. We are no longer in the dark on whether or not we can influence our thoughts and behavior — milestone experiments and findings now back up all of the wonders of the human mind and its enormous potential. And it is through these research experiments and scientific findings that we can do, what we do now.
In the spirit of Psychology’s kingdom of influence, I present to you some of the most profound and moving studies that shook the world of psychology and medicine alike. Demonstrating that what we think, is far from what is actually happening in our minds right now.
Am I an Extrovert or an Introvert?
The famed and brilliant psychologist, Carl Jung created this long renowned system of testing one’s personality called the Extraversion – Introversion paradigm in the 1920s. During the late 1900s a misconception arose and mainstream media perpetuated the stereotype that all introverts are shy and all extroverts are loud and enjoy large crowds. To further entrance people into the classification, people began placing themselves in either one group or the other.
The problem with these misconceptions is that they are all based around the wrong fundamentals, far from the original classification system that Carl Jung created. Jung never intended anyone to call themselves only an introvert or an extrovert, in fact he even said that no man can be solely one or the other and if he was —he’d be in a mental asylum.
In 1999, neuroscientists examined the brains of introverts and extroverts in order to find out exactly what was happening behind these classifications. They used a positron emission tomography (PET scan) on the patients, while they used their minds to think freely. What they found was surprising. The results showed that introverts actually have more neuronal activity in the brain regions involving learning, mindfulness, and that their premotor cortexes take in stimuli at a faster rate.
Meaning Jung was correct in his original theory that introverts attention focus inward while extroverts attention focus outward. And extroverts have less neuronal activity occurring in their brains, thus the reason they seek out external pleasures.
So which are you, now that you know it’s all about how sensitive you are to stimulus not whether or not your shy or like people.
We Actually Can’t Multi-Task…Sorry
When in a hurry to get to the office in the morning or get your kids to work, you might try driving, drinking your coffee, all while quizzing your kid on his History test. Sounds like a windstorm of several activities happening all at once and heck, you might even be able to do them all. But the reality is, you can’t do them all at 100% and that’s a fact.
Neuroscientists from Paris, Etienne Koechlin and Sylvain Charron of the French biomedical research agency INSERM conducted research into the brains of people while they multi-tasked using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.
In the experiment, 16 women and 16 men were asked to engage in a complex letter-matching game. During the game, the volunteers had to determine whether two letters appeared in the same order as they do in the world ‘tablet’. The multitasking aspect came into play when they had to utilize uppercase and lowercase words and then match them to all uppercase and lowercase words.
The results were exciting —the neuroscientists discovered that when the volunteers worked on the single letter-matching game, both parts of their brains lit up. And as soon as they were asked to multitask, their brains immediately divided the tasks —the left side of the prefrontal cortex took over the first task and the right side took over the second task.
In conclusion, the French neuroscientists reassured us that when we multitask we aren’t actually doubling our brain power but instead diving up out computing power.
Does Being Kind Actually Change Your Brain?
If you’ve ever done something kind for someone, maybe gave a friend a ride, or remembered to bring your sister lunch, after the task you typically feel pretty good about yourself. Ever wondered why exactly your brain registers your selfless act as positive for your survival and overall well being?
Well that’s because when you perform an act of altruism, you’re actually activating the part of the brain that deals with understanding others point of views and emotions. Researchers at the University of Zurich in Switzerland confirmed this theory in their journal, Neuron. The head of the research team, Ernst Fehr goes on to explain that:
“One brain region that has been repeatedly and reliably found to be implicated in tasks requiring the ability to represent and understand others’ perspectives is the temporoparietal junction (TPJ).”
The team of researchers went on to conduct the experiment that would back up the hypothesis, using 30 volunteers and two games. In the games, the participants were asked to decide how much money to give one another. And sure enough, when done under an MRI scan, the participant’s right side of the TPJ was incredibly large. The grey matter in that area was larger than the average person. Concluding that people who are kind and altruistic actually have more developed brain regions and grey matter than those who never perform any altruistic acts.