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A discussion on approach motivation.


A very interesting piece of research with potential uses in helping to lower stress or increase motivation with brainwave entrainment.

There’s nothing new about dominance within the brain, something I first got interested in when studying NLP and the eye accessing cues associated with where someone looks while thinking having clues as to not only what modality of thought they are engaged in (making pictures, hearing sounds, feeling etc), but also whether those thoughts are remembered or constructed. IE: with training and observation you can actually tell if someone is lying based on how their eyes move. The CIA use this technique in interrogations. In general, this way of accessing changes if the person is left or right handed.


Here’s an extension of that knowledge that makes it even more interesting.

For context it’s also useful to know that people have primarily two motivation strategies. Moving away from that which they don’t prefer.., and moving toward that which they do prefer. Needless to say, the moving away from strategy tends to create more stress in the persons life.

The idea currently in brain stimulation theory is that the right hemisphere (side) of the brain is responsible for emotions and actions of retreat and defence.., while the left hemisphere is responsible for approach (attack) and moving forward emotions and actions. Therefore the assumption is that by stimulating the left hemisphere you can encourage a more moving forward style of motivation which for some mental disorders would be a game changer in lifestyle and enjoyment.

[NOTE: There is a crossover between brain hemisphere and the side of he body it controls. So the left hemisphere controls the right side of the body.]

This idea is known as the sword and shield hypothesis. As in you shield and pect with your left hand potentially along with retreating (primarily) and you attack and move forward with your sword in your right hand (again primarily).

The testing on this theory/model was done primarily with right handed people (as they are a higher proportion of the population) and this study shows that the opposite held true for left handed people. For ambidextrous people the stimulation was ineffective.


With this knowledge we could potentially simulate just one hemisphere of the brain by covering the appropriate eye (for photic/light based devices) and or one ear.

So for example, you could cover the left eye (leaving the right which effects the left hemisphere) and use a motivating session to encourage a more toward style motivation strategy.

Could be an interesting experiment.


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