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Confidence Is Susceptible of Training

What is confidence? Better yet, should your doctor care about your confidence? Isn't that a personal trait that you either have or don't have? Believe it or not, confidence is an essential component of human health. More importantly, confidence is something that scientists are now able to quantify more accurately. Of course, some of the concepts are still in their earliest stages and require additional development. However, the idea that medical experts are now looking at confidence as a quantifiable factor means that confidence pills are not that far off.

What is confidence?

The term isn’t that difficult to define. It refers to the belief in one's own self. It is an internal state defined by your thoughts and emotions about your being. When people lack confidence, they are noticeably shy. Some will even struggle with social anxiety while others might contend with assertiveness and communication-related problems.

confidenceWhy confidence matters?

Does confidence really matter, though? Doctor Aurelio Cortese (Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International, Japan) thinks so and he has been expending so much energy to understand and possibly even cure low confidence. The researcher is sure that confidence is an important aspect of an individual’s existence that can have a drastic impact on their life, career, and relationships. In fact, confidence (or rather its lack) is one of the main risk factors for ailments like depression.

Solely as a means of combating mental illnesses like bipolar disorder, confidence is definitely a subject worthy of exploration. While psychologists have always encouraged people with low confidence to initiate personal changes in order to resolve their problems in this area, Doctor Cortese believes that it might be possible to train the brain to become more confident.

Instilling confidence

Can you train yourself to be more confident? That is the question Doctor Cortese sought to answer when he initiated his study. The brain patterns of 17 subjects were observed (using an imaging technique called Decoded Neurofeedback) as they performed a perceptual exercise. Through this process, Cortese and his team were able to identify the brain activity associated with confidence. In other words, by simply looking at the brain patterns, Cortese could tell whether an individual had high confidence or low confidence levels.

Next, the team tried to figure out whether they could create confidence in the subjects. The subjects were exposed to a series of training sessions. Whenever their confidence levels were perceived to be high (regardless of the reason) they were given a monetary reward.

Because Doctor Cortese repeatedly associated each subject's state of high confidence with a monetary reward, the subjects were all consistently more confident by the time the study ended. This proved that the brain could be trained for the person to be more confident.

Doctor Cortese admitted that more work needs to be done to better understand the brain processes responsible for confidence, but they were definitely on the right track and could soon identify more effective means of boosting confidence in shy individuals.