Anxiety makes people veer left

Anxiety makes people veer left


Those feeling anxious and stressed tend to veer to the left, say scientists, because the right side of the brain becomes overly active.Anxiety makes people go left, scientists have discovered.That, at least, is what The Telegraph online has reported.The report cites research by Mario Weick of the University of Kent’s School of Psychology, which, for the first time, links activities in the brain’s two hemispheres to the way people walk.Weick’s experiment showed that blindfolded people with high anxiety levels tended to veer towards the left while trying to walk towards a target they were previously shown.“People experiencing anxiety and inhibition have more activity in the right side of the brain, causing them to walk in a leftward trajectory,” the report quoted Weick as saying.The research paper has been published in the journal ‘Cognition’.Another study on people’s performance has shown that they tend to do badly when they are aware of being watched by a critical audience.The research has been published in ‘Scientific Reports’.The report says experts have identified the part of the brain responsible for performance debacles with the help of functional magnetic resonance neuroimaging (fMRI).

The brain activity of participants was monitored in an experiment in which they were asked to exert pressure while gripping an object.The participants said they felt anxious when they felt they were being watched, and gripped harder without realising they were doing so.An analysis of the results showed that “an area of the brain that helps people control their fine sensorimotor functions – the inferior parietal cortex (IPC) – became deactivated when they felt they were being observed,” the report said.This part of the brain, according to the study, works with another section, known as the ‘posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS)’.Together, they form what neuroscientists call the ‘action-observation network (AON).The AON helps people infer what other persons are thinking on the basis of their facial expressions.The pSTS transmits this information to the IPC, which in turn generates appropriate action.If people feel the observers are eager to see them succeed, brain signals egg them on to perform well.But if negative signals are picked up, the IPC is shut off, and the performance begins to flag.


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