The word ' helmet' conjures up images of a person riding a two-wheeler donning the protective headgear. A new study details the significance of objects deeply entrenched in our psyches.
The study put forth the fact that wearing a helmet even when you aren't riding a bike, sends a feeling of safety to the brain.
Researchers in this study published in the journal 'psychophysiology' made 40 people play a card game on the computer, in which participants choose between a high-risk and a lower-risk gambling option in each trial.
Half of these participants were asked to wear a bike helmet under the coverstory that the eye tracker mounted on it measures their eye movements.
During the game, researchers used EEG to observe what was happening in participants' brains, which led them to an exciting discovery: The so-called "Frontal Midline Theta Power" - the brain activity that characterises the weighing up of alternatives in the decision-making process - was much less pronounced in the helmet wearers.
"Therefore, we conclude that the helmet clearly has an impact on decision-making in the risk game. Obviously, participants associate a feeling of safety with wearing the bike helmet," explains Dr Barbara Schmidt, head of the study.
Cognitive control, as psychologists call the neuronal mechanism of weighing things up, is less pronounced when wearing a helmet.
"It is possible that this is a priming effect. This means that the significance we associate with a helmet automatically has a cognitive effect that is also measurable in the brain," said Schmidt.
"In the present study, we used the very subtle manipulation of wearing a bike helmet. But safety can also be suggested more clearly, for example during hypnosis," added an expert from Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany, where the study was conducted.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)