LivingIntrospection is behind the eyes

Introspection is behind the eyes

honestidadDo you consider yourself aself-reflective person? Or are you one of those who never usually reconsider their opinions and decisions? Our Cthe ability to reflect on our own thoughts, emotions, and actions, known asintrospection, is a key aspect of human consciousness that makes us human. Using a functional MRI scanner, British neuroscientists from University College London (UCL) have identifiedan area of the brain that is larger in individuals who reflect on their thoughts and decisionsand they think twice.

In a study published in the journalScience, the researchers, led by Stephen Fleming, conclude that the volume of gray matter and white matter – nerve connections – in theanterior prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is located just behind the eyes, is an indicator of a person’s introspective ability. What is still unknown is whether the size of this area varies from one subject to another innately or if it changes with experience. “Does this area develop as we acquire the ability to reflect on our thoughts, or are there people with a greater capacity for introspection because their prefrontal cortex was already more developed?”, Says Geraint Rees, co-author of the work.

Whatever the answer, the study authors believe the discovery could help understand how certain brain injuries affect an individual’s ability to reflect on their own thoughts and actions. And why do certain people with mental illness haveawareness of your illnessand others not. “The former will take their medication promptly, while the latter will not,” says Fleming, who believes that his findings could help provide “self-awareness” to patients who need it.

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