New study suggests impulsive decisions can be controlled

In a new study, scientists have shown that people's tendency to make impulsive decisions could be controlled.

ANI| Updated: Oct 03, 2014, 16:38 PM IST
New study suggests impulsive decisions can be controlled

Washington: In a new study, scientists have shown that people's tendency to make impulsive decisions could be controlled.

The research led by the University Of Melbourne found that people make immediate judgments about images they were shown prompted or impromptu, which could impact on their decisions, even when they may not be conscious.

The study was done to predict abstract judgments from brain waves, and it also increased the understanding of impulsive behaviours and how to regulate it. ??

Researchers could predict from participants' brain activity how exciting they found a particular image to be, and whether a particular image made them think more about the future or the present. Even though the brain activity was recorded before participants knew they were going to be asked to make these judgments.

They used electroencephalography technology (EEG) to measure the electrical activity of people's brains while they looked at different pictures. The pictures displayed images of food, social scenes or status symbols like cars and money.

After the EEG, researchers showed participants the same pictures again and asked questions, a statistical 'decoding' technique was then used to predict the judgments participants made about each of the pictures from the EEG brain activity that was recorded.

It suggested that just as certain prompts might cause impulsive behaviour, images could be used to prompt people to be more patient by regulating impulse control.??

Hypothetical as it may be, results suggested that prompting people with images related to the future might cause processing outside awareness that could make it easier to think about the future. In theory, this could make people less impulsive and more likely to make healthy long-term decisions.

The study is published in PLOS ONE.