KYOTO, Japan, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Researchers in Japan are using a state-of-the-art technique to read and then amplify self-confidence in study participants.
Dr. Mitsuo Kawato, director of the Computational Neuroscience Laboratories at the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International in Kyoto, Japan, has pioneered the process called "Decoded Neurofeedback."
The technique used brain scanning to monitor and detect the occurrence of specific complex patterns of activity tied to high self-confidence states, while 17 participants performed a simple perceptual task.
Whenever a pattern of high confidence was detected, participants received a small monetary reward. By doing this, researchers were able to directly boost a person's own confidence unconsciously, meaning the participants were unaware of the manipulation taking place.
"How is confidence represented in the brain?" said Kawato in a press release. "Although this is a very complex question, we used approaches drawn from artificial intelligence (AI) to find specific patterns in the brain that could reliably tell us when a participant was in a high or low confidence state. 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."
Self-confidence has been linked to success in business, politics and other aspects of everyday life, along with being an important aspect in mental illness such as depression and Alzheimer's disease, researchers said in a press release.
The study, published in Nature Communications, was led by Dr. Aurelio Cortese, of ATR.
"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."
The team is currently working on developing new clinical treatment for patients with various psychiatric conditions.