Zee Media Bureau
Washington: Ever wondered why do people react differently to similar setbacks- be it failing an exam or a negative job review?
Research reveals that it may depend on how much control we feel we have over what happens.
Scientists also discovered that when these setbacks occur, the level of control people perceive may even determine which of the two distinct parts of brain will handle the crisis.
“Think of the students who failed an exam, they might feel they wouldn't have failed if they had studied harder, studied differently - something under their control,” said Jamil Bhanji, a postdoctoral fellow at Rutgers University and one of the study's co-authors.
Those students, Bhanji said, resolves to try new study habits and work hard toward acing the next exam.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) used in the study showed activity in a part of the brain called the ventral striatum - which has been shown to guide goals based on prior experiences.
A different student might have failed the same test, but believes it happened because the questions were unfair or the professor was mean, things beyond his control.
The negative emotions produced by this uncontrollable setback may cause the student to drop the course.
In cases like this, fMRI showed that activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), a part of the brain that regulates emotions in more flexible ways, is necessary to promote persistence.
Mauricio Delgado, an associate professor of psychology added: “People whose jobs include delivering bad news should pay attention to these results, because their actions might influence how the news is received.”
Lessons from the study may even guide certain people towards giving up too soon on careers where they could have done well.
The research was published in the journal Neuron.
(With Agency Inputs)