New AI therapy can help you to overcome fear: Study

Therapy to overcome fear


Scientists have recently discovered a way to further remove specific fears from the brain, using a combination of the artificial intelligence and brain scanning technology, an advance way that may lead to new treatments for conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and phobias. Here is a new AI therapy that can help you to overcome fear.

Currently, a common approach is for the patients to undergo aversion therapy, in which they would confront their fear by being further exposed to it in the hope they will learn that what they fear is not harmful. However, this therapy is unpleasant.

Overcome fear
Therapy to overcome fear

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Researchers from the University of Cambridge in the UK have found a way of unconsciously removing a fear memory from the brain. They developed a method to read and identify a fear memory using a new technique called ‘Decoded Neurofeedback’.

It used the brain scanning, in order to monitor activity in the brain, and identify the complex patterns of activity that resembled a specific fear memory.

How the experiment took place?

In the experiment, a fear memory was created in 17 healthy volunteers by administering a brief electric shock when they saw a certain computer image.

When the pattern was detected, researchers had been over-wrote the fear memory by giving their experimental subjects a reward.
Researchers repeated that the procedure over three days. The volunteers were told that the monetary reward they earned depends on their brain activity, but they did not know how.

By continuously connecting subtle patterns of brain activity linked to the electric shock with a small reward, the scientists hoped to gradually override the fear memory.

Overcome fear
FEAR

They then tested what happened when they showed the volunteers the pictures previously associated with the shocks.

Such a treatment could have some major benefits over the traditional drug based approaches. Patients could also avoid the stress associated with the exposure therapies and any side-effects further resulting from those drugs.

The study appeared in the journal Nature Human Behaviour.

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