A new study indicates that a simple, computer-training task can help rewire the brain to regulate negative emotions.

Training can improve brain’s ability to ignore irrelevant information and reduce brain reactions to emotional events, says Dr. Noga Cohen, the author of the study published in the journal NeuroImage.

Cohen and his team from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) studied the brains of 26 healthy volunteers. Their brains were monitored before and after multiple computerised training sessions using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

As part of the study, the researchers asked the participants to identify whether a target arrow points to the right or to the left, while ignoring the direction of arrows on either side of it. Based on this, the researchers assessed the connections between different regions of the brain in the absence of any specific task, and during another task in which they were asked to ignore negative pictures.

"These findings are the first to demonstrate that non-emotional training that improves the ability to ignore irrelevant information can result in reduced brain reactions to emotional events and alter brain connections," says Cohen.

The researchers found that the participants who completed more intense version of the training showed reduced activation in their amygdala - a brain region involved in negative emotions, including sadness and anxiety, reports the Hindustan Times.

The researchers want to use the learnings from the study to examine the impact of this non-emotional training on individuals who are depressed or anxious. They believe that the study could also help those at high risk of developing high blood pressure reactions to emotional information.

According to the researchers, this cognitive training can be easily employed with different population, such as children, elderly adults, and individuals with neurological or psychiatric disorders.