Learn About the Brain's Reward System Video

Dr. Bruce Dan looks at why some people like to live on the edge.
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Hi! I am Dr. Bruce Dan; love to live on the edge? You are not alone. Now we maybe closer to understanding why people enjoy a kind of adventure rush. Researchers conducted an experiment to see how the brain responds to new experiences. Subjects were shown sets of pictures with each image having a different chance of wining prize money. They pick one and then we give another group of pictures to select from. Some pictures in the group were previous images and some were new. So subjects could pick an old picture whose value they knew or try their luck with a new one with an unknown payoff. It was bit like the game Let's Make a Deal where participants having to choose between the known and the unknown and maximize their prize money. When researchers looked at brain scans taken during the experiment, they noticed that one particular area of the brain known as the reward center lit up whenever people choose new images. That part of the brain releases chemicals like dopamine, which makes us feel good. The scientists surmised that our brains are rewarding us for trying new things. It makes sense considering the taking risk in life can have big payoffs. But sometimes being daring can have its drawbacks. The researches say that the same reward system can also lead to self-destructive behavior, like gambling and drug addiction. The trick is knowing when to take risk and when to play it safe. Making rounds, I am Dr. Bruce Dan.

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