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Talk negative,invite gloom: Lucknow research shows it

“As you speak,so shall you be” may be a long-held spiritual belief.

Written by RAMENDRA SINGH | Lucknow | Published: September 8, 2012 7:47:44 am

“As you speak,so shall you be” may be a long-held spiritual belief. Now clinical research by the Centre of Biomedical Magnetic Resonance (CBMR) of Sanjay Gandhi Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences here has found that mere utterance of negative sentences causes activation in the part of brain which is affected by gloomy,stressful and depressive thoughts. And no such activity happens inside the brain when affirmative sentences are uttered.

The research,conducted by a team of basic and cognitive scientists,has been published in the August edition of US-based journal Brain Imaging and Behavior.

The study,using the technique of functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI),was carried out at CBMR in collaboration with the Centre for Behavioural and Cognitive Sciences (CBCS) of University of Allahabad and Mysore University (MU) by a team of scientists comprising Prof Prakash Padakannaya from Department of Psychology of MU,Dr R K Mishra of CBCS and Dr Uttam Kumar of CBMR. The research was directed by CBMR Director Prof C L Khetrapal.

The study was conducted on 16 people,all between the ages of 21 years and 45 years. The group consisted of 10 men and 6 women,all graduates and native Hindi-speaking.

They were given a set of 24 affirmative and 24 negative sentences written in Hindi. Each of them was then asked to speak all the sentences while their brain activation was being monitored through functional MRI.

The scientists found that though there was no distinct activation in the brain when affirmative sentences were uttered,the utterance of negative sentences activated the lower parts of the brain known as bilateral anterior temporal pole of brain. The common cortical regions involved in affirmative and negative sentence conditions included bilateral inferior frontal gyrus,left parietal cortex,left fusiform,bilateral supplementary motor area,bilateral middle temporal gyrus and bilateral occipital area. While no distinct region was activated when affirmative sentences were uttered,activations were observed in the region of bilateral anterior temporal pole for negative sentences.

Khetrapal said the bilateral anterior temporal pole of the brain is the area which,otherwise,shows activation when a person goes through stress,anxiety or gloomy and depressive thoughts.

He said it was a preliminary finding,which is very encouraging and warrants extensive investigations which are in progress. The power of positive attitude,reciting and listening to mantras to cope with stresses and strains in daily human life is well-known in India and is widely practised. The study produces some scientific evidence for this,said Khetrapal.

He said they would have to advance their research by experimenting with sentences of other languages as it is not yet ascertained if the sentences of other languages will generate similar response from the brain.

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