Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Seared Brains, Anyone?

Have you ever noticed that when you make a mistake and realize it, you have a kind of, "Oh crap!" reaction? Did you ever notice any kind of shock, feeling of dread or painful sensation with that? According to some new research found in this Newsweek article appropriately titled, "Oops, I Did It Again", there's a part of the brain that alerts us when we make the same mistakes over and over again by sending out a negative reaction, or electric shock. It comes from the part of the brain called the anterior cingulate cortex that signals what psychologists call ERN, or "error related negativity." Of course, there's a flip side to this. If you constantly make the same mistakes over and over again, the ERNs begin to weaken. This is possibly why some people never learn from their mistakes. If you tend to reason around errors in your life now, you are essentially rewiring your own brain to ignore them in the future, too. So when we say we're just having fun now and will change later, you may completely lack the physical ability to care or be shocked by your own actions in the future to effectively do something about it! This brings a whole new meaning to "searing your conscience", doesn't it? :)

The study also noted that "the subjects who were most impulsive and antisocial had EEGs that were quite different from those who were low on these traits." This points to the importance of self-control and fellowship with others of like minds. Of course, the human brain is capable of being rewired to send stronger signals for our mistakes as we correct our behavior while following God's way of life and building character. I'm sure a physical component of "building character" is reprogramming our brain to reward us when we do the right thing and to sting us more when we make mistakes. This is vital for raising kids, too (as I will soon learn). That's probably one of the main reasons why King Solomon wrote about learning proper values in our childhood years, "Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Prov. 22:6).

1 comment:

Ducky said...

Wow, that's pretty interesting!