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Knowledge and Opium

Danielle
Posts: 21,330
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6/2/2010 12:49:51 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
The brain's reward for understanding a concept is a shot of natural opiates.

Neuroscientists have proposed a simple explanation for the pleasure of grasping a new concept: The brain is getting its fix. The "click" of comprehension triggers a biochemical cascade that rewards the brain with a shot of natural opium-like substances... The brain's craving for a fix motivates humans to maximize the rate at which they absorb knowledge... Knowledge addiction has strong evolutionary value because mate selection correlates closely with perceived intelligence... Only more pressing material needs, such as hunger, can suspend the quest for knowledge... The same mechanism is involved in the aesthetic experience (art)... This account may provide a plausible and very simple mechanism for aesthetic and perceptual and cognitive curiosity.

http://www.eurekalert.org...
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Puck
Posts: 6,457
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6/2/2010 1:06:09 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
Read paper a few days ago that was discussing whether humans filled an evolutionary cognitive niche. Interesting stuff. Question is whether it's knowledge specific or reward specific. The ventral tegmental area responsible for addiction is linked to reward behaviour and it is also where opiate receptors are located.
Lukas
Posts: 110
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6/21/2010 1:39:27 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Interesting. Funnily enough, a lot of the junkies/ex-junkies I know are pretty knowledge hungry folks, well read. Not sure whether this is because most of them are unemployed though lol