Parisian Neuriscientists designed an experiment in which two groups of participants completed various tasks. While one group had to work more, the other was able to relax a bit more. The next step was to investigate the brain using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and to provide participants chances for immediate or delayed reward in order to monitor behavioral signs of weariness. Their research sheds light on some biology underlying why people experience mental blockages and justifies strategies like the Pomodoro Technique.
The new research, just published in the journal Cell Biology, examines the scientific basis for why mental function deteriorates with age and offers suggestions on how to care for our brains. Although everyone is aware of cognitive tiredness, it is still unknown why using one’s brain so much may be so draining. According to previous views on resource depletion, exercising restraint and critical Thinking may deplete energy reserves such as blood glucose. These theories do not particularly address problems with self-control, as the researchers behind the new study point out.
The brain interacts with nerve cells with excitatory neurotransmitters, such as glutamate. While glutamate production stimulates neurons, it may also be harmful in large amounts. Researchers are aware that under stressful conditions or when doing demanding activities, glutamate builds up outside of brain cells. High amino acid levels can interfere with information transmission and upset the balance of excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters.