Monday, July 16, 2012

Thank you, NPR...

Can't remember the show but it was talking about dopamine production which is kind of a 'feel good' element our brain produces so that we will eat, mate, and do other pleasurable things that are conducive to the race continuing...

Seems like some monkeys were rigged with strategically placed needles and wires to record bursts of dopamine.

The monkey being studied was locked in a room. The researchers would walk down the hall, open the door, turn on a light, say 'Hello, Monkey', and give it some orange juice.

As soon as the monkey drank some orange juice, the receptors monitoring dopamine release sounded. As the days (weeks?) of the test progressed, dopamine release would be recorded at earlier stages starting with 'Hello, Monkey', all the way back to the footfalls in the hallway.

One conclusion drawn was that the brain will look for patterns which might presage a burst of dopamine release. It wants it. It will try to determine how/when it might be delivered so that it is ready. The researchers did not go so far as to say that the brain might try to set up events favorable to dopamine release but I inferred they thought it might be so.

Which is all just to say, enjoy that anticipation of the next lemon drop martini. We've gotta have a -little- feeling of pleasure in life, don't we?

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