Another Shocking Result?

The process of our body responding to an external stimulus is a cascade of action. We notice the stimulus and then we our brain decides to act and this takes a finite amount of time, our reaction time. The body struggles through our motor control system to get action. This is our response time.

So once our network gets stimulated the time for the signals are physical characteristics of our system, but on top of that are factors such as anticipation or intensity of the stimulation. Lakhan et al in PLoS ONE have mapped out the electrical potentials and how they map out in the brain while shocking some twelve  twenty-somethings and getting them to press a button (1).

The variable in these studies was the intensity of the shock that the participants received. The results of the electrophysiological measurements showed that only the event related potentials were sensitive to the shocking intensity. So it appears that the frontal part of the brain makes the decision to get a move on and move those muscles.

This frontal lobe of the brain is where the planning and motivation activities are generated and one would imagine that the bigger the shock, the stronger the motivation to get that button pressed. Not really a very shocking result.


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