a few things that the brain will quietly do

Continue working in standby mode
Some people have vowed to claim that if they want to get up at six in the morning, they can do whatever they want by slamming their heads on the pillow before going to bed. Is this the Arabian Nights? Maybe not. Studies in the 1990s have shown that this is due to the wonderful unconscious processing mechanism of the brain.

A research team at the University of Lübeck in Germany allowed 15 volunteers to fall asleep at midnight for three consecutive nights. They told the first group of volunteers that they would wake them up at nine in the morning, but actually woke them up at six o’clock; then told the second group of volunteers that they would wake them up at six in the morning and wait on time. Done.

Experiments showed that the stress hormone levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone in the second group of volunteers increased significantly from 4:30 in the morning and peaked around 6 in the morning. The first group of volunteers who were unexpectedly awakened at 6 am did not have such a peak. The researchers concluded that the unconscious processing mechanism in the brain can not only perceive the passage of time in our sleep, but also set a biological alarm clock to initiate the awake process. Set up such a biological alarm clock.

If people stop monitoring their surroundings during sleep, they are more vulnerable, and the sleeping brain does not completely shut down. Instead, it continues to follow the surrounding environment in a standby mode. This may explain why some sounds, such as our name, are easier to wake us up from sleep than other sounds.

Make difficult decisions for you
Leave difficult decisions to the subconscious and let it make better decisions than conscious thinking. Does this sound great? Epp Dixterhus of Radeburg University in the Netherlands raised this anti-intuitive idea 12 years ago.

Dixterhus found that in the experiments that asked volunteers to choose rooms in different apartments, they were difficult to decide in the face of dazzling variety of room types. But if they interfere with them with other problems, they often make better choices after distraction. Dixterhus believes that this is because “unconscious consciousness” can transcend the limited ability of memory while dealing with more information.

Others believe that the meaning of “unconscious consciousness” is even more important for creativity than to help us make decisions. Instead of interfering with the conscious mind of the brain’s frontal lobes, it brings together different pieces of information from various parts of the brain to inspire and produce some truly creative novel ideas.

Although there is currently no way to make your brain more creative, if you are thinking about a problem being stuck, you may take a nap, perhaps when you wake up, it is your epiphany. that moment.

Run “autopilot”
Many things we do in our daily lives, whether it’s driving, making coffee, or typing, are done without conscious thinking. Unlike many other unconscious talents in the brain, these skills must be learned before the brain can do it automatically. Understanding how the unconscious brain does it can provide us with a good way to get rid of bad habits.

Ann Grabill of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her colleagues have shown that the striate layer deep in the brain is the key to habit formation. When you perform an action, the prefrontal cortex and stratum are involved in planning complex tasks. , send a signal of action. Over time, the input from the prefrontal circuit gradually disappears and is replaced by a circuit in which the striate layer is associated with the sensorimotor cortex. These circuits, combined with the memory loop, allow us to perform these actions without thinking, in other words, the practice makes perfect and enters the “auto-driving” state.

The benefit is that we no longer need to focus on one of the usual tasks, and the extra processing power can be used to do other things. The downside is that it also turns all behavior into habits, including mindsets. Once any kind of behavior becomes a habit, it becomes rigid and difficult to change.

However, the study found that it is crucial that even for the deepest entrenched habits, a small portion of the forehead cortex remains “online”, which gives hope to those who want to get rid of bad habits and the most to deal with bad habits. A good way to do this is to be aware of their existence and then focus all your attention on helping the prefrontal area of ​​the brain resist the habitual behavior of the subliminal “autopilot”, or you can develop a new habit to counteract the effects of bad habits. .

Track body space location
Because of the unconscious information processing of the brain, most of us instinctively know where our limbs are and what they are doing. This ability is called “proprioception”—an ongoing dialogue between the body and the brain that forms an overall perception of the physical “I”.

This apparently underestimated ability is thought to be the result of the brain’s prediction of receiving various sensory inputs from our nerves and muscles, as well as the ability to detect things that occur in vitro. “We are aware of the best guess of the brain’s position on the end of the body and the starting position of the external environment,” said Arved Gustem of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.

The famous “rubber hand illusion” experiment is a good example. In this experiment, the volunteers sat at the table, one hand was hidden under the table, and a rubber hand was placed in front of it. The experimenter touched the real hand and the rubber hand with a brush. After a few minutes, many people I began to feel the brush on the rubber hand, even claiming that it was part of their body.

The brain makes the best guess about the source of the sensation. The most obvious choice is the rubber hand.

New research shows that the subconscious mind also extends to the space around our body. The researchers repeated the experiment, touching the real hand but placing the brush 30 cm above the rubber hand, the participants still have the feeling that the brush touches the rubber hand, which means that in addition to the “unconscious consciousness” monitoring us Outside of the body, we are still tracking the “force field” that is invisible around us. Research suggests that this may be to help us better sense the surrounding objects to ensure that the body travels safely in the surrounding environment.

Decoding social signals
The “love at first sight” in love, or the unreasonable alert on strangers on the bus, may be because the subconscious is constantly making judgments for us, and usually very accurate.

In some cases, what we need to do to decode certain signals is just a simple glimpse of a face. In another study, volunteers were asked to watch the face of a US presidential candidate for one second, and then predict which candidates will win and predict their votes. The study found that people can judge which person is trustworthy in one tenth of a second.

Although we can’t easily change our facial features, “unconscious consciousness” has a kind of embarrassment that makes us become a favorite. Joe Hale, a psychologist at University College London in the UK, uses avatars to study a popular view that we have a good impression of people who imitate our body language. Although it is difficult to consciously imitate someone’s body language, the subconscious can easily do it. Hale mimicked volunteers with a one- or three-second delay through programmed virtualization, and found that three seconds is closest to nature. People don’t realize that they are being imitated, and they are more likely to think that the avatar itself is flattering.

Improve and predict information
Every moment, the brain receives far more information than it can handle. In order to figure out this information, the brain constantly compares the input information with the stored information without our knowledge, and then makes predictions.

Simply thinking about the future is enough to get the brain running. Imaging studies have shown that when people expect sound or images to appear, the brain produces an expected signal in the perceived cortex. This ability to be one step ahead in perception plays an important role in helping us understand the language.

Studies have also shown that the brain can convey one perception to another. For example, you can’t quite understand a word in a voice recording, but if you have seen the same word in a subtitle before, the word will sound clearer. Our brains not only make assumptions about external information, but also make predictions based on emotional signals from the body.

However, the unconscious prediction of the brain has its disadvantages. Incorrect inferences and repeated reinforcements are difficult to reverse. Although the understanding of the dangers of things like snakes and fires is relatively constant, unintended predictions can also lead to negative prejudice and discrimination in interpersonal relationships.

Despite the flaws, unintentional predictions are very beneficial to us. Imagine if our brains are not working like this, every time you see a snake, you must learn through the painful lessons to understand the terrible damage it can bring; every time you see the fire, you have to touch it. Realizing that fire is burning people.

It is good if the brain’s “unconscious consciousness” can handle many things for us, but what if you don’t realize the existence of unconscious thoughts?

After 40 years of research, the psychologist of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, USA, concluded that most people don’t know what their brains are thinking, but they can do it within a few days. Learn how to adjust the unconscious to conscious.

Learning how to adjust the real-time experience may have more opportunities to reach the subconscious. A new experiment found that usually meditators are more aware of the decisions they make subconsciously than others. At least the subject believes that this experimental experience reveals something that they did not know existed before.