Mental Training for Individual
and Societal Development
Brain mapping holds unlimited potential for understanding the
organ that is perhaps most integral to man’s existence. The
practical applications that may stem from being able to localize
various mental and physical functions are manifold: pinpointing
the base “pleasure” center or centers would lend itself to the
elimination of destructive behaviors and unhealthy thoughts
through artificial electrical stimulation and psychological
conditioning. Of course, the realization of this proposal would
require strict governmental regulation, due to the possibilities
for misuse of such powerful techniques, such as mass brain
washing and even complete control.
Explored in this proposal are experimental procedures
used to determine the structural details and functional
qualities of the brain. These include computerized
tomography (CT), positron emission tomography (PET),
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), functional magnetic
resonance imaging (fMRI), and electroencephalography
Also integral to the concept presented are Pavlovian (or
classical) conditioning and operant conditioning, which
help form the fundamental principles of learning
psychology. Such procedures are employed for the
acquisition of new responses and behaviors in humans
and other species.
The application of these brain imaging techniques to
psychological conditioning procedures is the basis of the
Context & Precedents
Several techniques for brain imaging are currently in use. EEGs were
developed early in the 20th century to examine cerebral functioning by
measuring the electrical activity of neurons. PETs were first used in the
late 1950s to study metabolic processes in the brain with gamma rays.
CTs and MRIs came about in the 1970s, allowing visualization of the
structure of the brain using, respectively, x-rays and electromagnetic
fields. fMRIs were developed in the early 1990s to study function
through changes in blood flow, correlated with neuronal activity.1
There are two main types of psychological conditioning originating in the
early 20th century: Pavlovian, which consists of pairing stimuli to train a
response to one stimulus, and operant, which involves pairing a
behavior with a consequence to train the same or a different behavior.2
Brain stimulation has been used in the past, with deep brain stimulation
(DBS) for pain and movement disorders, and electroconvulsive therapy
(ECT) for depression.34
Project Proposal (I)
Individualized brain maps with localized emotions
will be constructed from the combination of
results from several types of brain imaging. Since With specific
people are so unique, these will allow for the areas pinpointed
tailoring of treatments to individuals. as “pleasure,”
“disgust,” etc., 3D
on functions, may
Project Proposal (II)
Artistic matching of the natural activity in the brain, due to
genuinely experienced emotions, and induced activity in the
same specific regions, from electrode stimulation, will allow the
recreation of feelings in artificial settings on command. This
region-specific stimulation will be used with psychological
conditioning by individuals to enforce in themselves those
behaviors that they mentally realize are beneficial to themselves,
but cannot bring themselves to do, and extinguish harmful
Project Proposal (III)
Ethical quagmires abound in this proposal: the misuse of brain
manipulation techniques could veritably lead to a worldwide
brainwashing, or some other 1984-inspired plot. This, then calls
for strict regulation by governmental agencies, such that these
powerful techniques not be so misused.
Of course, the likelihood of the
formation of such perfect public policy
is not large, but with such dramatic
scientific advances always come
The proliferation of fast food and unhealthy junk
foods in modern society, particularly wealthy,
industrialized countries, has called for a strong
and permanent solution before lethargy entirely
overtakes the growing generation of young
Americans. Long have techniques for viewing
the structures and functions of the human brain
been used in attempts to localize various
abilities and emotions, which govern our
wellbeing and enhance or limit our physical and
intellectual capabilities. Furthering such studies
will hopefully allow scientists to map the brain's
true pleasure center or centers; doing so may
then lead to the implantation of electrodes in
said areas of the brain, which can then be used
to "train," in as non-totalitarian a manner as
possible, those of future generations to enjoy
those activities that would benefit themselves,
mentally and physically.
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