A new study from researchers in Japan has found that self-confidence can actually be directly amplified in the brain, but it can also be diminished, too.

According to a recent statement, confidence, or a lack thereof, is an important factor in mental illnesses such as depression and Alzheimer's disease where patients may already believe their brain power is lacking. Confidence has also been linked to success in business, politics and other aspects of everyday life, so the ability to increase it may have applications in both medicine and business.

Read: Joining A Group Boosts Confidence And Self-Esteem Even More Than Having Friends

UPI reported that the international research team used brain scanning technology to monitor and detect when brain activity occurred in specific complex patterns. Whenever a pattern of high confidence was detected, participants received a small monetary reward from the research team. This new process is called "Decoded Neurofeedback."

The sample size was only 17 people, which is small, but in line with basic science investigations of similar kinds, researchers noted.

"How is confidence represented in the brain?" asked Dr. Mitsuo Kawato — who pioneered the Decoded Neurofeedback process — according to the statement. "Although this is a very complex question, we used approaches drawn from artificial intelligence (AI) to find specific patterns in the brain that could reliably tell us when a participant was in a high or low confidence state. The core challenge was then to use this information in real-time, to make the occurrence of a confident state more likely to happen in the future.”

Read: Improving Mental Health And Wellbeing: How E-mail Exercises Boost Confidence, Gratitude

Source: Cortese A, Amano K, Koizumi A, Kawato M, Lau H. Multivoxel neurofeedback selectively modulates confidence without changing perceptual performance. Nature Communications. 2016.

See Also:

How To Boost Your Confidence: 6 Scientific Ways To Feel Better About Yourself

How To Not Be Shy: 4 Ways To Boost Self-Confidence In Social Interactions