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Creating Your Reality: It's All About Confidence

Posted Aug 23 2008 3:17pm
It is my premise that information and reality are intimately linked. In other words you create your reality according to the information you possess. Or to put it another way, you can learn your way to a new reality by gathering and integrating information.

So what does this have to do with health and healing? Well, healing and information are also intimately linked. In fact all healing occurs because at a fundamental level there is an exchange of information. You can explore this concept further at my site.

One problem I see is that in many cases healing (and following a new path) is a nonlinear process. For example many of my patients experience a setback during their healing. They initially show improvement only to experience a relapse of symptoms. Sometimes they just give up and resort to heavy medication or seek a surgical intervention. Many times they end up with more pain than when they started.

The same goes for things like learning a new skill or concept. You just have to hang in there and continue to do your work. The key is to have confidence that you will succeed. Confidence is based on information that has been integrated throughout your life. Changing some of this deep rooted information can be difficult because it manifests as beliefs.

Recently, I came across a study that looked at the mechanism behind confidence. The research was conducted at Cold Harbor Spring Laboratories. Researchers tested groups of rats on how confident they were in making decisions based on smells. Because the sense of smell is highly developed in rats the researchers could manipulate confidence by making the smells stronger. The rats had to make a decision as to which smell was stronger in order to obtain a reward.

They also observed a certain area in the rats' brains that was associated with uncertainty. This area is known as the orbitofrontal cortex and shows increased activity with uncertainty. In other words this area became more active as the rats became more uncertain of their decisions. What was surprising was that it was thought that only humans and some primates had this ability.

In one series of trials, rats were given a smell and then given an option to abort the trial on their way to the reward. This was done to measure how much confidence the rats had in their decisions. The researchers hypothesized that the confidence of the rats in their decisions was based on how different the smells were. In other words if the difference in smell strength was obvious the resultant confidence was greater than if the difference in smell was less obvious.

Or to put it another way, decisions based on uncertainty are not as strong as those based on certainty.

Sounds simple but we humans run into this all of the time. Back to my patients. If they did not believe that they would heal on some level or another they were more likely to quit the program and succumb to passive treatments with drugs or surgery. Those who did were more likely to stick with the natural healing program.

This appears to be a universal phenomenon not only unique to humans but exists in rats as well.

So what can we learn from this? Information leads to beliefs which leads to confidence in our decisions which leads to creating our realities.

Thank you rats!

Peace and healing,

Dr. Bruce

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Kepecs et al. Neural correlates, computation and behavioural impact of decision confidence. Nature, 2008; DOI: 10.1038/nature07200
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