Scientists have started an experiment using brain scans and training in order to help volunteers be able to train their emotions. The emotions they’re mainly focused on are ones of happiness. They are also hoping that these experiments will lead to new breakthroughs for people with mental illnesses and behavioral issues.
Jorge Moll talked about how other scientists have only experimented and looked at a few parts of the brain but, in order for the experiment to work, all parts of the brain need to be looked at. Not only will this let them see the results better, but they will also be able to see how each part relates to each other. Jorge’s team and him want to focus on the areas that are responsible for emotions and see how they relate to other parts of the brain.
At first, it took some time to get the computer to recognize these different feelings and the way they did this was by having people sit in fMRI machines and asked them to think about happy moments they had in their lives. The fMRI machine looked at the brain in real time. They were also asked to think about times of pride because Jorge Moll and his team wanted to look at different brain patterns that happen when different emotions are present.
Finally, they had 25 of these volunteers try to actually control these thoughts and it actually worked. The volunteers were then given pointers on how to continue training these emotions.
Jorge Moll is the President-Director and a member of the governing board of D’Or Institute for Research and Education in Rio de Janeiro (Twitter). At this institute, he is also the senior researcher and the head of Cognitive Neuroscience Unit and the Neuroinformatics Workgroup. Jorge Moll has received many awards, including: from 2004-2007, he held the award for Research Fellow NH, in 2008 he was elected the affiliate member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, from 2012-2013 he was elected governors board member of the International Neuroethics Society, and in 2005 he received the Visiting Scholar Award from the Stanford Neuroscience Institute at Stanford University. He completed his medical schooling in 1994 and his residency in 1997 at the same school, which is the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. He then went on to get his PhD in Experimental Pathophysiology from the University of Sao Paulo.