rustyjaw Posted August 28, 2004 Report Share Posted August 28, 2004 You know the feeling you get when you finally kill that level-boss that's been giving you hell? Well, there's a reason it feels good (from Reuters): The PET scans showed a clear pattern of activity in the brain's dorsal striatum, involved in experiencing satisfaction, when one player penalised the other for selfishness. The article is pitifully short to get any real meat about the study, but the gist is clearly that we (well, men at least) are designed to gain satisfaction from retaliation, even at some cost to ourselves. As far as a reason for this to evolve, the authors suggest: "For thousands of years, human societies did not have the modern institutions of law enforcement -- impartial police and impartial judges that ensure the punishment of norm violations such as cheating in an economic exchange, for example," they wrote. "Thus, social norms had to be enforced by other measures, and private sanctions were one of these means." It would be fascinating to see the same study on women, to see if there are any differences. ------------------------------------------- There's another interesting study regarding work, reward, and procrastination, here's the synopsis: Using a new molecular genetic technique, scientists have turned procrastinating primates into workaholics by temporarily suppressing a gene in a brain circuit involved in reward learning. Without the gene, the monkeys lost their sense of balance between reward and the work required to get it... The methodology of this study is astounding, they were able to temporarily shut down the expression of a specific gene in a specific brain area, which in and of itself is mind-boggling. But what they learned is also amazing, after knocking out a gene so as to disable receptors for Dopamine... "The monkeys became extreme workaholics, as evidenced by a sustained low rate of errors in performing the experimental task, irrespective of how distant the reward might be," said Richmond. "This was conspicuously out-of-character for these animals. Like people, they tend to procrastinate when they know they will have to do more work before getting a reward." As an aside, dopamine receptors are what are primarily altered by amphetamine drugs, in essence they enhance dopamine receptor response (whereas in this study they were shut down) and thereby bring about an extreme feeling of satisfaction and reward. Of course, such drugs work brain-wide, as opposed to this study where they targeted a specific brain area, so the symmetry isn't perfect. In motor areas of the brain, dopamine is needed for muscle control, it's lack in those areas is what causes parkinsons. An artificial replacement for dopamine (L-dopa) is what Oliver Sacks discovered in "Awakenings" I managed to find a PDF of the study itself, if anyone's interested. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Join the conversation
You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.