We can psych ourselves up and try to get motivated all we want, but it's often easier said than done. But recent research suggests that it can be scientifically crafted. All you need is a little motivation. And an fMRI scanner.
The research, published today in Neuron (press release available here), involved setting up test subjects to an fMRI machine. From there, the researchers began to look at the region of the brain associated with motivation and concentration, somewhere in the ventral tegmental area. Then, in simple terms, they were told to get motivated. To try everything to get motivated.
There's no electrical stimulation here, or other ways to apply a current to the brain. Instead, when people found the right motivator, it lit up. So for instance, if someone thought of an encouraging spouse, it might light up in ways that a drill sergeant wouldn't or vice versa. Actual participants used angry coaches or Queen songs or any number of other things to motivate themselves. The researchers think it likely works at a sort of intersection between memory and learning.
In other words, to find out what motivates people, they have to think of their own motivators. The scientists were just there to watch what works. The applications are potentially important, especially in areas like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which seeks to modify behaviors through constructive brain exercises. Once people find what motivates them, they may be able use that as a real tool to get all the things done they've been, well, unmotivated to do.
From: Esquire UK.