New York, April 3: Staying positive under stress or thinking negative is not in your control – the credit goes to your brain that takes care of positive or negative vibes, a study shows.
“It is the first time we have been able to find a brain marker that really distinguishes negative thinkers from positive thinkers,” explained Jason Moser, lead investigator and assistant professor of psychology at Michigan State University.
Moser and his team surveyed 71 female participants who were shown graphic images and asked to put a positive spin on them while their brain activity was recorded.
The study focused on women because they are twice as likely as men to suffer from anxiety-related problems and previously reported sex differences in brain structure and function could have obscured the results.
Participants were shown a masked man holding a knife to a woman’s throat and told one potential outcome was the woman breaking free and escaping.
The participants were surveyed beforehand to establish who tended to think positively and who thought negatively or worried.
“Sure enough, the brain reading of the positive thinkers was much less active than that of the worriers during the experiment,” Moser noted.
The findings have implications in the way negative thinkers approach difficult situations.
Negative thinkers could also practice thinking positively, although Moser suspects it would take a lot of time and effort to even start to make a difference, said the study that appeared in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.