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Scientists Boost the "Will To Persevere" With Current To the Brain

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the volts-or-forget-about-it dept.

Biotech 127

schliz writes "Stanford scientists say they could help boost people's motivation to overcome difficulties by electrically stimulating the anterior midcingulate cortex in the brain. The study involved two patients, who described the 'will to persevere' beautifully. One said it was like driving into a storm front and knowing that he had to get through. From the article: 'Stanford University neuroscientists passed a small current through an area in the part of the brain that deals with error detection, anticipation of tasks, attention, motivation, and emotional responses. Both patients involved in the study had epilepsy, and already had electrodes implanted in their brains to help doctors learn about the source of their seizures."

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127 comments

Sounds perfect for high risk suicide patients (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45614525)

nc

Re:Sounds perfect for high risk suicide patients (2)

sexconker (1179573) | about 4 months ago | (#45614691)

What if it just makes them persevere at attempting suicide?

Re: Sounds perfect for high risk suicide patients (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45614925)

And?

Re:Sounds perfect for high risk suicide patients (0)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 4 months ago | (#45615277)

I've observed that a minor shock to glut of a human causes that human's will to survive. Should I be packing my bag to Stockholm? For a Prize?

Re:Sounds perfect for high risk suicide patients (1)

lightknight (213164) | about 4 months ago | (#45617893)

Have they tried chocolate? I cannot imagine even a suicidal person turning down a good piece of chocolate before they go...with the emphasis being on 'good' as opposed to popular or chic.

Re:Sounds perfect for high risk suicide patients (1)

lightknight (213164) | about 4 months ago | (#45617911)

And when they finish one, offer them another piece. Then another. Sooner or later, the chocolate will kick in, and drive them out of their funk.

Re:Sounds perfect for high risk suicide patients (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45615339)

Then maybe they'll finally succeed at something, instead of being such terrible failures that they cant even die right.

Re:Sounds perfect for high risk suicide patients (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45615761)

Then maybe they'll finally succeed at something, instead of being such terrible failures that they cant even die right.

Not to be confused with you, who are a nihilistic insensitive piece of shit who cannot
even punctuate a simple sentence correctly.

Re:Sounds perfect for high risk suicide patients (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45617637)

"Not to be confused with you, who are a nihilistic insensitive piece of shit who cannot
even punctuate a simple sentence correctly."

You are missing a comma there, after 'shit'.

This has existed a long time (4, Interesting)

themushroom (197365) | about 4 months ago | (#45614571)

a) I recall there being experiments in the 1980s where rodent brains were wired to where the mouse would press a bar to get a jolt to its pleasure center, and it would procede to bang that bar until it passed out.
b) The news and hospitals are filled with people who have already proven that psychoactive drugs such as PCP and angel dust, and of late methamphetamins, will have a "will to perservere" at whatever they're doing (be it tweaking with the heat sinks on a stereo or trying to release demons from one's brain with a hand drill and a piece of metal coat hanger) that lasts for days or until incidental death, whichever comes first.

Re:This has existed a long time (5, Insightful)

muhula (621678) | about 4 months ago | (#45614969)

Except that will to persevere and pleasure are two distinctly different things.

Re:This has existed a long time (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 4 months ago | (#45617641)

"Except that will to persevere and pleasure are two distinctly different things."

Also, if it is just an electrical current, is it still a 'will'?

Re:This has existed a long time (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 4 months ago | (#45617835)

As someone who studies organic and artificial neural networks -- Prove it. "Persevere" is such a complex emergent behaviour that there's not really one brain region responsible for it. For instance: When you're just about to have an orgasm, try to stop. It's difficult. There's a "will to persevere" during high pleasure activities, specifically at climax.

Adding energy to a system adds energy to a system...

Re:This has existed a long time (2)

khallow (566160) | about 4 months ago | (#45617521)

I strongly disagree. Addictions and habit-forming behaviors are easy to get into. The "will to persevere" is the ability to continue to do some hard or painful task in the face of easier and less painful alternatives.

be it tweaking with the heat sinks on a stereo or trying to release demons from one's brain with a hand drill and a piece of metal coat hanger

Don't confuse an act of desperation and confusion with an act of will.

Movie idea (5, Funny)

Ukab the Great (87152) | about 4 months ago | (#45614627)

You could make a film about a pile of dead body parts assembled into the form of a man being shocked by lightning and being given the will to live. You could even add some wanton violence and philosophical questions of existence to make the story interesting.

robocop was somewhat like that (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 4 months ago | (#45614739)

robocop was somewhat like that with more the body fully intact and no lightning.

Re:robocop was somewhat like that (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45615081)

woooooooosh, citizen.

Re:robocop was somewhat like that (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45615183)

whoosh.

I hope everyone remembers Slashdot is an international forum and not everyone has the same cultural heritage.

Although everyone in the Western world probably immediately connected with "Frankenstein", those with different cultural heritage may be as unfamiliar with our cultural relics as we are with theirs.

No harm, no foul. [wiktionary.org]

Re:robocop was somewhat like that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45615529)

Piss off you pedantic turd.

Re:robocop was somewhat like that (1)

righteousness (3421867) | about 4 months ago | (#45615567)

I can't think of why anyone who posts to slashdot would not be familiar with the Frankenstein monster.We're talking about someone who is internet literate here, not someone living in the backwaters of India with no access to television or the internet.

Re:robocop was somewhat like that (1)

mbstone (457308) | about 4 months ago | (#45616677)

Even if you live in the backwaters of India (redundant) you are expected to read and memorize TV Tropes [tvtropes.org] before posting to Slashdot.

Re:robocop was somewhat like that (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 4 months ago | (#45616839)

I can't think of why anyone who posts to slashdot would not be familiar with the Frankenstein monster.

Perhaps because out of the 7 billion people on this planet, 6,999,999,999 of them are not you.

I can't think of a reason to assume that anyone who posts to slashdot would necessarily be familiar with Frankenstein.

Re:robocop was somewhat like that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45616135)

I hope everyone remembers Slashdot is an international forum and not everyone has the same cultural heritage.

No, Joe_Dwaggon is born an' bred in good ol' US of A.

He's just dumb as a rock and refuses to learn from his mistakes.

Re:robocop was somewhat like that (1)

morgauxo (974071) | about 4 months ago | (#45618307)

What cultural heritage would explain being familiar with Robocop but not Frankenstien?
I think 'lack of' seems a lot more likely.

Re:robocop was somewhat like that (1)

morgauxo (974071) | about 4 months ago | (#45618317)

Now.. if they were from some non-western culture and familiar with neither.. that might make sense.

Re:robocop was somewhat like that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45616113)

robocop was somewhat like that with more the body fully intact and no lightning.

Sorry, could you repeat that please? I didn't see it in the subject or the body the first time I read your post, could you please repeat that again for me please perhaps in the subject this time please, do please repeat yourself.

Would you mind awfully?

Re:robocop was somewhat like that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45616215)

robocop was somewhat like that with more the body fully intact and no lightning.

Sorry, I didn't get that. I read it in the subject line and then in the body and it left me wanting more. Could you repeat that once again for me please? I'd like it once on the subject line, then once on the body please. That way I get to read the beginning of your post twice, because what you have to say is just so damn important it fucking NEEDS to be read twice, dammit. So, once again, can we have you repeat yourself again, once in the subject line and again in the body, please?

Re:Movie idea (1)

CTachyon (412849) | about 4 months ago | (#45615609)

You could make a film about a pile of dead body parts assembled into the form of a man being shocked by lightning and being given the will to live. You could even add some wanton violence and philosophical questions of existence to make the story interesting.

You mean Frank Henenlotter's 1990 masterpiece, Frankenhooker [imdb.com] , of which Bill Murray said (and I quote [wikipedia.org]) "if you see one movie this year, it should be Frankenhooker"?

W.C. Fields would disapprove (5, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 4 months ago | (#45614679)

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it.

-- W.C. Fields

With that in mind, is it a good idea to get people to continue to engage in futile endeavors? Who says quitting is always a bad thing.

P.S. I started to write this as a joke, but now I'm not so sure. For all we glorify perseverance, sometimes it's idiotic.

ahh yess, ahh yess (1)

themushroom (197365) | about 4 months ago | (#45614715)

I started to write this as a joke, but now I'm not so sure. For all we glorify perseverance, sometimes it's idiotic.

I just think of the old phrase, "why does man climb a mountain? because it's there"... really, is that a valid reason?
Granted, I spent most of a day getting a WiFi card to work with Linux on a circa-2000 notebook and will likely erase the hard drive in the near future. It's the challenge or the adventure or... well, ego, okay?... even if there's really no point in an endeavor. The more dangerous without a tangible reward, the better.

Re:ahh yess, ahh yess (5, Interesting)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 4 months ago | (#45614797)

I like your point. I remember once reading about a guy trapped high up on some huge mountain somewhere, maybe Everest, about to die in a storm. One of his last acts was speaking via radio to his wife, who had just had a baby. And I thought, what the hell are you doing on that mountain with a wife and newborn at home?

Re:ahh yess, ahh yess (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45615371)

Captain James Cook served in the British Navy during the Seven Years' War and went on to captain three multi-year expeditions and still managed to father 6 kids and no-one was telling him to stay home. Sometimes things just have to get done when they have to get done.

Re:ahh yess, ahh yess (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45617013)

When does climbing a mountain just to say you did ever 'have to get done'? At least fighting in a war or captaining an expedition achieve things.

Re:ahh yess, ahh yess (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45616023)

I like your point. I remember once reading about a guy trapped high up on some huge mountain somewhere, maybe Everest, about to die in a storm. One of his last acts was speaking via radio to his wife, who had just had a baby. And I thought, what the hell are you doing on that mountain with a wife and newborn at home?

The guy you speak of was a professional mountain guide.

So, what he was doing on that mountain was his JOB.

Living as a coward is no guarantee of safety, though you seem to believe it might be.
You can die any time and any place, and if you have lived in fear until that last
moment, some of us would say you never really lived at all.

Re:ahh yess, ahh yess (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45616323)

> The guy you speak of was a professional mountain guide.

Was his name Albert Einstein?

Re:ahh yess, ahh yess (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45616511)

There are many of us who don't live in fear every day. We just don't need to keep "nearly dying" in order to live.

Re:ahh yess, ahh yess (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 4 months ago | (#45617069)

That was Rob Hall [wikipedia.org]. And the reason why was obvious: because he valued his "adventure" lifestyle more than he valued his family. Not so shocking these days, eh?

Re:ahh yess, ahh yess (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45618605)

And I thought, what the hell are you doing on that mountain with a wife and newborn at home?

Obviously you never met the missus.

Re:ahh yess, ahh yess (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45615807)

I can completely relate to this. I spent the better part of two days trying to get a Windows game running on Wine in Linux. Complete failure. Gave up after that - some things aren't worth continuing to throw effort into (it was a game that required XNA and all four .NET patches - very uncool).

Re:W.C. Fields would disapprove (5, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about 4 months ago | (#45615611)

With that in mind, is it a good idea to get people to continue to engage in futile endeavors? Who says quitting is always a bad thing.

I like this one [despair.com]:

Quitters never win, winners never quit, but those who never win and never quit are idiots.

Persistence is good if it gets you anywhere, but if you're just obsessing over things you can't do, can't change, can't make work, can't achieve then give up and move on. Particularly I hate people who can't ever accept that the team, the project or someone in authority has made a decision they disagree with and continue to reopen the issue, dredge up old discussions and undermine the decision. I've had one extreme case where a person on the project team was trash talking it to the rest of the company during the official presentation, essentially saying this is what we're delivering and it's crap and not what I wanted or how I'd design it.

My impression is that overall people have too much persistence and can't stop flogging the dead horse, if things are that bad or that hopeless stop trying to make it work and get out. If your boss is a total ass hat, find another job don't try to fix it. If your girlfriend is a total fruitcake don't try to reason with crazy. If nobody wants to buy what you're selling, you're probably wrong about what they wanted in the first place. Move on, try again. Except the exceptions of course, where banging your head on the same brick wall many enough times will lead to it cracking. But I wouldn't waste my head on that.

Re:W.C. Fields would disapprove (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45617153)

P.S. I started to write this as a joke, but now I'm not so sure.

Sounds like you need another shot of current.

on your next job application...... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45614719)

[ ] Initial this box to consent to a motivational brain implant. Failure to initial this box will negatively affect your potential employment.

Re:on your next job application...... (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 4 months ago | (#45615093)

That was my first thought, another thing that will be practically required to compete on the job market, oh yay...just wait until those sleep substitute pills hit the shelves.

battle helmet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45614735)

I would like a DARPA contract to put this into helmets for soldiers. Quad Damage!!!

Re:battle helmet (4, Funny)

bob_super (3391281) | about 4 months ago | (#45614757)

You didn't see the old documentary?

Pain the helmet black and your soldier's reaction to dismemberment becomes either "'tis but a scratch" or "that's just a flesh wound", and he keeps on fighting.

Re:battle helmet (1)

mjwx (966435) | about 4 months ago | (#45616415)

You didn't see the old documentary?

Pain the helmet black and your soldier's reaction to dismemberment becomes either "'tis but a scratch" or "that's just a flesh wound", and he keeps on fighting.

for some strange reason the article made me think of Ludwig Van.

Motivation (3, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 4 months ago | (#45614759)

You zap me, and sure, I'll be motivated to do whatever the hell you're zapping me to make me do.

Re:Motivation (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#45615171)

Problem is that my only motivation is to stop you from zapping. That can be accomplished temporarily by doing your bidding or permanently by killing you.

Re:Motivation (1)

mjwx (966435) | about 4 months ago | (#45616425)

Problem is that my only motivation is to stop you from zapping. That can be accomplished temporarily by doing your bidding or permanently by killing you.

You would think that, but the zappers on a deadmans switch.

Now my unwitting minion, about these tasks I have for you.

Hook me up (1)

Hecatonchires (231908) | about 4 months ago | (#45614763)

Dealing with depression, medication, associated side effects and low energy levels, I need some 'push through it'. Where do I sign up? Will it interfere with my brains internet plug, due to be installed in the 2020's?

Re:Hook me up (2)

jd (1658) | about 4 months ago | (#45615659)

Why would you want to connect your brain to the Internet? Far too great a risk of an NSA virus.

What you want to do is place your brain in a networked, Earthquake-proof, fire-proof enclosure, with an Infiniband connection to a Linux server. This would then be linked, via an OpenBSD firewall, to the Internet and also to some sort of ROV that can act as a relay between brain and body.

Meanwhile, your skull would contain an embedded computer, a massive multiplexer/demultiplexer to link up the nervous system and a very high bandwidth microwave link to the ROV.

It would reduce bandwidth requirements and latency if the motor neurons remained in the skull, with the rest of the brain transmitting only executive instructions and not specific nerve impulses. Those could be generated more locally. Split brains are found in squid, so we know this kind of isolation is possible. You'd also need a smaller computer, as it would largely be relegated to providing network security, error correction and data compression/decompression. This means you could increase the number of motor neurons, increasing the sophistication of muscle response.

From the brain-at-home POV, removing motor neurons means reducing distances between the other parts of the brain, reducing response time. (Since microwaves are a fair bit faster than electrochemical chains for transmitting data, latency due to distance is insignificant. You would be limited by signal strength and error correction codes, but the radius would be far beyond typical distances travelled by westerners anyway.)

Dissecting the brain further, with no executive functions in the skull to contend with, eyes could be larger, giving you higher resolution at the same number of distinguishable colours, or more colours at the same resolution. This would require the optic centres to be cut out of the brain and enlarged accordingly. Unlike those parts dealing with memory, the structure of the visual cortex probably won't vary much. By replacing the synapses with optic fibre, you can reduce latency, reduce errors, increase resilience to aging, reduce space requirements and eliminate tau protein knots. The reduced space means more visual cortex for the same response time, letting you process every scrap of available data rather than wasting it as the brain currently does.

Much the same applies to hearing and sense of balance. You could probably double your frequency range and your ability to distinguish tilt.

You may be more restricted in movement, but you would exchange it for superhuman senses and superhuman reflexes.

Re:Hook me up (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about 4 months ago | (#45616681)

jd, you rascal. Some neat engineering there.

The augmented remote brain - some interesting choices to be had. I wonder to what extent use of one or more expanded senses might have on psyche. One way to find out....

I've been thinking of the dis-embodied consciousness bit on and off for a while, having first met it in some sci-fi from maybe forty years ago. Lately there's been Dmitry Itskov and his 2045 Initiative. On one hand, I'm fascinated, on another, a bit chilled. Yet, the thought that as we get older and maybe, just maybe, a bit wiser, get a few things figured out, perhaps get a better idea of what one wants to do with his life, his body starts crapping out and it's time to die, seems wasteful, and the possibility to continue, with what one might hope integrity of personality, is very intriguing.

(I do believe that I've used up my commas for the year. Sorry 'bout that.)

Re:Hook me up (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 4 months ago | (#45617861)

Burn you brighter, live you shorter. I do not recommend over clocking your organic brains. Consider a hardware upgrade instead.

Impossible! (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 months ago | (#45614769)

Everyone knows that 'willpower' is an intangible substance that some people possess more of, because they are better, and other people lack, because they are bad. I don't want to hear any more of this materialist nonsense. The rest of the universe may be causal; but human behavior isn't, because something!

Re:Impossible! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45615059)

Everyone knows that 'willpower' is an intangible substance that some people possess more of

It's not really an intangible substance, but some people really do have more of it, for whatever reason.

But even more rare is intelligence. Very, very few people are intelligent.

Re:Impossible! (1)

anethema (99553) | about 4 months ago | (#45616535)

I'd rather have willpower.

Those who do well in school and life, are not the most intelligent, but the ones with the most willpower to see things through.

Something I've never had the most of unfortunately :(

Re:Impossible! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45617925)

For a very simple reason. Willpower, like many other things, is trained. Highly intelligent individuals, unless they have similarly intelligent parents with the time and resources to fully challenge them throughout rearing, will never need to apply themselves to meet milestones with their minds, until they get to the point where the natural aptitude is no longer sufficient and challenges start to present themselves. At that point, the challenge will be- relatively speaking- a brick wall, because the rearing process has never provided training in overcoming such challenges.

Re:Impossible! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45616601)

Even rarer is wisdom.

Even rarer is compassion.

Even rarer is desire for enlightenment.

Even rarer is desire for emancipation.

You can't possible know every twist and turn in life, much less everyone else's life. That's what makes life interesting.
That there is a sort of electrical current surrounding life, and involved in the will to persevere have been experienced by leaders and meditators for ages.
Base chakra. It's the beginning of understanding subtle phenomena. There are more such centers, each with different meaning, context and dependencies connecting us to the harmonics of the entire universe.

I'll stop now, because I too do not really know, but I feel it physically every day, and know there is more to it than just wishful thinking and fancy.

Re:Impossible! (1)

cascadingstylesheet (140919) | about 4 months ago | (#45617365)

Nice. But I'll really believe you when you say something unpopular, like that intelligence is strongly heritable and all the consequences of that, for example.

Not that I'm a materialist, in the end ... sure, a love letter "is" just paper and ink, but that's the least interesting thing about it.

Re:Impossible! (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | about 4 months ago | (#45617471)

If you think human behavior is not intangibly arcane, you haven't frequented enough women. Given that this is slashdot, there is no need for further elaboration.

Scientists can zap synapses to make this intangibly arcane stuff more or less variated, so what?

Better living... (1)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 4 months ago | (#45614819)

through electricity! Eventually we will all have brain implants to jolt us out of unproductive or rebellious mental states. Software by Microsoft.

Re:Better living...Indefinitely? (1)

turning in circles (2882659) | about 4 months ago | (#45615697)

So the family of the terminally ill patient could in theory not only force feed the patient, they could also zap his brain to give him the "will to persevere"? Sign me up for hospice right now; I'm calling my lawyer to amend my living will and medical directives to keep that particular treat far away from me.

Study Involved Two Patients (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45615057)

I'm sold.

Re: Scientists Boost the "Will To Persevere" With (2)

MobSwatter (2884921) | about 4 months ago | (#45615317)

That's so wonderful, is there anything else we can do to enhance incoherent thought process?

Could turn our lives into a dystopia... (4, Interesting)

Camembert (2891457) | about 4 months ago | (#45615347)

While scientifically interesting, I can imagine a dystopian future where employers mandate their works to wear special "brain helmets" so that they are fully focused on the task at hand...

Re:Could turn our lives into a dystopia... (2)

jd (1658) | about 4 months ago | (#45615679)

Been there, done that. Beanies are completely ineffective at helping concentration. Yours or anyone else's.

Re:Could turn our lives into a dystopia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45615769)

I think we'll all be out of a job before that could happen.

Re:Could turn our lives into a dystopia... (1)

wren337 (182018) | about 4 months ago | (#45617741)

Or, more likely, soldiers. Imagine all of your troops experiencing this at once just before battle.

Current to the anterior midcingulate cortex gave both patients an increased heart rate, physical sensation in the chest or neck, and “anticipation of challenge coupled with strong motivation to overcome it”

I could use some of that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45615395)

They're coming tomorrow to test the apartment building I live it to see if there are bedbugs, as someone at the other side of the building is claiming. If it's true, I'll probably have to throw away everything I own. I'm thinking it would be easier to simply start a fire in the other room and then blow my brains out, as the fire will take care of the bugs and the bullet will give my relatives my life insurance (I'm past the 2 year limitation on suicide) and my pension payout (before the government steals that too), and frankly they could use the money. I'm worth more dead than alive anyway.

Of course, this other person could be lying to keep from being evicted for another few weeks or something, and there might not be anything wrong at all, so I won't do any of that. I sure could use a nice jolt to the brain, though. Maybe I'll take up alcoholism, for the holidays.

Re:I could use some of that (1)

Sardaukar86 (850333) | about 4 months ago | (#45616265)

Maybe I'll take up alcoholism, for the holidays.

I can't speak highly enough of alcoholism, myself. It's the only thing that has kept me anaesthetised against the will-to-live-destroying arrogance and stupidity* of the human race.

Still, only another thirty years to go and I can wave this shithole goodbye forever!

* I don't think I'm smarter than the average person, just smart enough to observe our species' behaviour.. and despair.

Re:I could use some of that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45616751)

yes indeed. Had a friend with brains who stopped drinking for a weekend few years ago to see how the world looks like when he is sober and he did not like the experience. This said death by alcohol poisoning or fat liver is not fun. Then again what sort of dying is fun for the subject. Then again I keep on these cases from the country of Germans where victims voluntarily let be eaten - recently the act of slaughter was even done competently by a police officer (off duty). I guess I go for a drink so that I do not have to think about human race.....

Re:I could use some of that (2)

kermidge (2221646) | about 4 months ago | (#45616761)

Thirty years and hitting the sauce, not the best of odds, but hey, go for it. (I was lucky, back mid-Eighties after twenty years of hard drinking; about the only thing that hadn't been adversely affected was my liver. Go figure.)

"I don't think I'm smarter than the average person, just smart enough to observe our species' behaviour.. and despair." If you can provide for your physical needs, then it's just an uncomfortable state of mind. If your situation is worse, then it gets really annoying, trending to flat-out bad, going by personal experience.

Like many a tool, if what these guys have found gets used, some of the uses will be ungood. But for someone caught up in a situation that by most lights just needs for them to apply a little extra oomph, might be a good thing - with consent, of course.

Or not... (1)

CapOblivious2010 (1731402) | about 4 months ago | (#45615411)

I stuck my finger in an electric outlet once, and my will to persevere in sticking my finger in there was reduced, not boosted.

Re:Or not... (1)

jd (1658) | about 4 months ago | (#45615683)

It was an incompatible finger protocol. You have to upgrade your hand and try again.

Re:Or not... (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 4 months ago | (#45618665)

I stuck my finger in an electric outlet once, and my will to persevere in sticking my finger in there was reduced, not boosted.

You must have really, really small fingers.

Not such a big deal (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 months ago | (#45615733)

"Stanford scientists say they could help boost people's motivation to overcome difficulties by electrically stimulating the anterior midcingulate cortex in the brain.

You want motivation? I knew a guy who took two hits of crystal meth and a pint of schapps and was able to overcome a solid wall with his forehead.

It probably didn't do much for his anterior midcingulate cortex, though.

been done before (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45615817)

May the beatings continue until morale improves

I thank them for their bravery and all they gave u (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45615901)

I have cerebral palsy and epilepsy and there description is the before and after of how it feels for me with seizures. Just like some of Hollywood's special effects especially from the 80's on. Some of us were tortured and bled, so other children who couldn't walk now can. Then the technology evolves and other people only see it as mere enjoyment. We'll I commend them for their bravery and what they have given up. Just to help improve the human condition and maybe 1 day a child will not have suffer from cp or seizures. But you who make jokes will probably think I'm a jerk or worse and then go out and buy a mind controlled video game for your enjoyment. I'm glad to see there a few people left who will sacrifice there we'll being at a chance to cure themselves and others

Re:I thank them for their bravery and all they gav (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 4 months ago | (#45618657)

I have cerebral palsy and epilepsy and there description is the before and after of how it feels for me with seizures. Just like some of Hollywood's special effects especially from the 80's on. Some of us were tortured and bled, so other children who couldn't walk now can. Then the technology evolves and other people only see it as mere enjoyment. We'll I commend them for their bravery and what they have given up. Just to help improve the human condition and maybe 1 day a child will not have suffer from cp or seizures. But you who make jokes will probably think I'm a jerk or worse and then go out and buy a mind controlled video game for your enjoyment. I'm glad to see there a few people left who will sacrifice there we'll being at a chance to cure themselves and others

The sad reality is that if this research truly is valid, it is more likely to be used for mind controlled video games than curing people. In a capitalist society, even one with a for profit health care system like the US (where corporations make big money from people being sick), there is far more profit to be had from the next generation xbox than the limited pool of suffers with conditions like yours. More likely than either a consumer product or a medical treatment, however, will be a militarized application.

Age old battle (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 4 months ago | (#45616105)

So in the future my "Will To Persevere" could potentially dwarf my "Will To Say 'Fuck it' and Get a Beer"? I find that hard to believe...

literal burnout! (1)

jblues (1703158) | about 4 months ago | (#45616107)

Staff not performing to capacity? Burn them out (literally) with our new patented high-current implants!

This submission (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45616315)

This submission is electrifying the human spirit!

Implications for the Marshmallow Test? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45617331)

If you could increase a person's ability to delay gratification, it could greatly improve their lives.

Great, now my competitive advantage is a commodity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45617343)

Character-in-a-can. Great.

Seriously, do we need more motivated people to compete even more fiercely in our hyper-competitive road-to-nowhere-imparticular ? Let's stimulate a person's concern for others and urge to do good works, their sense of fair play and egalitarian impulses. That would go a lot further towards making the world and the people in it better off.

Maybe this doesn't prove anything. (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 4 months ago | (#45618599)

From the article, we have two individuals with obviously abnormal brain function (uncontrolled seizures) that when an electrical charge is introduced in a specific area, it causes them to increase their perseverance (which is somewhat subjective in its measure). Extrapolating those results to a normally functioning brain seems somewhat of a leap. While the research is interesting, it doesn't really prove anything because of the extremely small sample sized, no control group and abnormal brain function to begin with.

Matrix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45618969)

Matrix was just a extreme example of what our masters are willing to do with us.
I bet with you that the next generation of hardwired cubiculum dwellers will bring our masters more profit for less motivations.
Just a pair of electrodes to stimulate our desire to comply with management every whims.

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