Study – Introspective ability linked to a region in the brain

It is often encountered that people tend to choose their life-route based on either what their peer group is doing or based on what is considered as a remarkable, respectable and prestigious by the society. These acts of voluntarily ignoring one’s own instincts, interests and capabilities can cost one their fortune in the long run. In such scenario, one can mange to successfully get through and drag himself for a limited period of time. But with the passage of time, frustration starts building up, which later gets transformed in to depression and lack of self-esteem. It therefore becomes vital to analyze your own self while making decisions and more importantly those decisions that are going to remain with you through out your life and impact your future.

 Accurate introspection can become a very powerful tool to improve quality of our lives. The new findings reported in the journal Science suggest that the ability to introspect depends on a part of the brain that is larger in people who seem to be particularly introspective.

The British research team devised a way to measure introspective ability by comparing people’s confidence in a decision they made with the accuracy of that decision.

More about the study
32 healthy people were shown computer screens containing patterns, one slightly brighter than the rest. Similar to those used in eye testing.

 At first, the subjects had to quickly choose the screen containing the brighter pattern.

 Since some people are better observers, the computers adapted the level of difficulty to suit each individual such that the task was equally hard for all the participants.

Then the volunteers had to rate how confident they were about their answer.

It was expected that the...

people with good introspective abilities would be more confident when they were right, and more likely to second-guess themselves when they really were wrong.

People who were just overconfident would lead an external to think that they were right, but in reality wouldn’t be

Brain scans of the participants showed that the people with accurate introspective ability had more of gray matter in a spot of the prefrontal cortex, right behind the eyes.

It was also found that the people who were more introspective also had stronger functioning white matter

The ability to introspect, until recently, was loosely linked to one’s maturity level, socio-economic background or degree of seriousness toward life.  The current picture, as it stands, suggests that the introspective ability may not be controlled by oneself and nature has a crucial role in conferring certain capabilities. Keeping this particular thought in our mind, we must certainly try to understand the fluctuation that we can undergo while chalking out the plans for life. And instead of criticizing them, we must be supportive toward such individuals who could find it tougher to locate where their interests lie and figure out the path that interests them.

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