A recent study suggests Neurofeedback may one day help couples that frequently argue by helping them monitor brain activity and teach themselves to be more compassionate and affectionate.
An article in Scientific American noted that many arguments between couples and others in close relationships are often caused when one person is unaware of the other’s mental or emotional state.
Scientific American reported researchers from the D’Or Institute for Research and Education (IDOR) and the University of Rio de Janeiro believe they can increase affection by allowing people to monitor their brains. The technique employs Neurofeedback, which allows subjects to see and react to their brain activity.
At Advanced Health and Performance Institute in Orlando and Winter Park, we use many of the same techniques to help executives and athletes improve performance. We also aid children with attention deficit and other disorders and help them lead more healthy and productive lives, while also allowing them to deal better with others.
In the case reported by Scientific American, the South American research group zeroed in on brain activity associated with warm emotions, but not romantic feelings – for example, what someone might feel when seeing a close friend or beloved family member.
To compare this feeling with others, researchers first had 24 volunteers provide three personal memories: a moment of pride, an event dominated by feelings of affection and a neutral but interactive scenario, such as going to the market to shop.
Pride and tenderness can be complex emotional states, so scientists decided to compare results from these two and the neutral control to help determine what brain activity came with affiliate emotion.
Later, participants were asked to remember these events while in a magnetic resonance imaging machine and watching a screen bearing a circle that would change shape. For 50 percent of the subjects, the circle mirrored changes in brain activity. The other subjects observed a randomly changing ring as the key point for visual attention.
During the trials, researchers consistently cued subjects with the words “proud,” “neutral” or “tender.” Subjects were then told to relive the related memory in great detail and with intense emotions.
The research team contrasted data from tender, neutral and proud reactions to identify brain activity most connected with affiliate feelings for individual subjects. They then measured how brain response in each trial matched this typical affiliative activity.
Those who received random visual feedback displayed no significant difference in affiliative activity. But those who took part in Neurofeedback displayed much stronger affiliative brain activity in their final trials compared with their initial ones.
Something about seeing their brain’s changes heightened the response over subsequent trials.
Researchers also looked at regions of the brain for tender feelings. Regions included the frontopolar and septohypothalamic areas. Each was linked previously to affectionate feelings in prior research.
Affiliative emotion is associated with empathy, fondness and compassion. Experts suggest Neurofeedback training could help squabbling couples and groups increase empathy and compassion – and even help those with more serious antisocial disorders.
At Advanced Health, we can help executives and others who may have difficulty dealing with stress, which in turn can negatively impact their relationships with co-workers or loved ones.
Contact Advanced Health today to learn more about our training programs and techniques.