Our clients often tell us how amazing they find the neurofeedback process. Instantaneous guidance by brain activity? Changing brain activity based on rewards? Exciting new neuroscience research takes this several steps further. Imagine having your behavior guided by someone else’s brain!
Here is the study: two rats have tiny electrodes implanted in the part of their brain that governs motor responses. The rats are on two separate continents. In their cages are two levers, each with a light above. Both rats are trained using rewards to press one of two levers in their cage whenever the light above that lever is on.
Next comes the cool part: The rats brains are connected. They are linked by the tiny electrical signals that go instantaneously from the motor cortex of one rat who is the leader to the motor cortex of the other who is the follower. Both are in cages with two levers as before but this time the follower rat’s cage has no signal lights. The follower rat only knows which lever to press by the electrical signal from the leader rat’s brain. Only the leader rat gets rewards. The leader rat is rewarded only when the follower rat presses the same lever that is signaled only in the leader rat’s cage. So the follower rat has to be guided by the brain activity of the leader rat.
Using electrodes implanted in their brains, one rat was able to pass information to another in a cage thousands of miles away…
– Nick Collins, The Telegraph
The follower rat was able to press the correct lever significantly more often than would be expected by chance. Direct brain to brain communication and guidance. Rat telepathy.
This is another example of the ability to harness brain activity when information about that activity is paired with rewards or hints or guidance. So this is just what happens with neurofeedback. A specific brain behavior is rewarded when the target is met and this process of feedback leads to brain change.
Maybe our kids would behave better with parent-brain to child-brain guidance? How about spouses? Better yet: politicians. A new way to vote.