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Removing fear. Why?

Fear related disorders affect around one in 14 people and place considerable pressure on mental health services. Currently, a common approach is for patients to undergo some form of aversion therapy, in which they confront their fear by being exposed to it in the hope they will learn that the thing they fear isn’t harmful after all. However, this therapy is inherently unpleasant, and many choose not to pursue it. Now a team of neuroscientists from the University of Cambridge, Japan and the USA, has found a way of unconsciously removing a fear memory from the brain.

The team developed a method to read and identify a fear memory using a new technique called ‘Decoded Neurofeedback’. The technique used brain scanning to monitor activity in the brain, and identify complex patterns of activity that resembled a specific fear memory. 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, the researchers over-wrote the fear memory by giving their experimental subjects a reward. The team repeated the procedure over three days. Volunteers were told that the monetary reward they earned depended on their brain activity, but they didn’t know how. (1)

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Erasing fear with rewards.

Erasing fear with fear.

The only thing modern humans have not learned (or have rather forgot) is to accept. To accept things as they are. To accept the fear. To accept their own self, instead of trying to change it.

It may seem the easy coward choice, but it is quite the opposite.

It takes a lot of courage to accept.

And only those who fear enough can do it…

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