July 29, 2016 12:20 - 13:50

The neural mechanism of insight triggered by textual micro-counseling dialogues of restructuring orientation

[Speaker] Yu, Fei:1,2
[Co-author] Zhang, Wencai:1, Zhang, Zhijie:3, Zhang, Jianxin:1
1:Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Beijing, China (China (People's Republic of China)), 2:Institute of Psychology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China (China (People's Republic of China)), 3:Education College, Hebei Normal University, Hebei, China (China (People's Republic of China))

Insight is a salient psychotherapeutic progress but has rarely been investigated in a controlled experimental setting. To clarify the neural mechanisms of insight in cognitive behavioral therapy, textual micro-counseling dialogues applying cognitive restructuring techniques were designed to generate insights and presented during a brain scan. Specifically, zero-, low-, and high- restructuring explanation ("solution") was randomly matched to the description of a psychologically distressing situation ("problem"). Participants first read a problem and then an solution. The brain activities of 22 healthy participants were analyzed using functional magnetic resonance imaging. The high-restructuring solutions could triggered the strongest insight and had the highest novelty. Regions such as left superior temporal gyrus, left fusiform gyrus, bilateral amygdale, and right hippocampus were activated while reading high-insight solutions. These findings suggested that novelty may play a pivotal role in the clinical-like insight process triggered by textual micro-counseling dialogues.
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