Navigation Links
Sense of Adventure Rests in Primitive Brain Region

But dopamine reward system may also play role in less desirable addictions, expert says

WEDNESDAY, June 25 (HealthDay News) -- Your sense of adventure comes from a primitive area of the brain called the ventral striatum, British researchers say.

Scientists from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at University College London used fMRI to track brain activity in volunteers and found the ventral striatum was activated when participants chose unfamiliar items over familiar ones. This may be an evolutionary feature shared by many animals, the researchers said.

"Seeking new and unfamiliar experiences is a fundamental behavioral tendency in humans and animals," Dr. Bianca Wittmann said in a prepared statement.

"It makes sense to try new options, as they may prove advantageous in the long run. For example, a monkey who chooses to deviate from its diet of bananas, even if this involves moving to an unfamiliar part of the forest and eating a new type of food, may find its diet enriched and more nutritious," she said.

The ventral stratium is one of the key areas involved in the brain's rewards processing system, which helps humans learn behaviors that are beneficial and worth repeating. While Wittmann and her colleagues didn't determine exactly how seeking new and unfamiliar experiences is rewarded, they suspect it may be through the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine.

While the ventral stratium may be beneficial from an evolutionary standpoint, it can make people more susceptible to certain types of marketing.

"I might have my own favorite choice of chocolate bar, but if I see a different bar repackaged, advertising its 'new, improved flavor,' my search for novel experience may encourage me to move away from my usual choice," Wittmann explained. "This introduces the danger of being sold 'old wine in a new skin,' and is something that marketing departments take advantage of."

The brain's reward system for making novel choices could have even more serious consequences, said study co-author Professor Nathaniel Daw.

"The novelty bonus may be useful in helping us make complex, uncertain decisions, but it clearly has a downside. In humans, increased novelty-seeking may play a role in gambling and drug addiction, both of which are mediated by malfunctions in dopamine release," Daw said.

The study was published online in Neuron.

More information

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about the brain.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Wellcome Trust, news release, June 25, 2008

Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Balancing Dollars and Health Sense
2. Brains Olfactory Bulb Grows With Sense of Smell
3. Maine Community Pharmacy Owner Thanks Sen. Snowe for Supporting Inclusion of Common-Sense Reimbursement Provisions in Medicare Bill
4. Oregon Community Pharmacy Owner Thanks Sen. Smith for Supporting Inclusion of Common-Sense Reimbursement Provisions in Medicare Bill
5. Montana Community Pharmacy Owner Thanks Sen. Baucus for Including Common-Sense Reimbursement Provisions in Medicare Bill
6. New WaveSense Presto(TM) and Pro(TM) Glucose Meters to Simplify Testing
7. Serotonin Levels Determine Sense of Fairness
8. Isis Partners Present Clinical Data on Antisense Drugs at the American Society of Clinical Oncology
9. With age comes a sense of peace and calm
10. With age comes a sense of peace and calm, population research center study shows
11. BodyMedia Releases New & Improved SenseWear(R) WMS Armband
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... People across the U.S. are ... Code Talker Award, an essay contest in which patients and their families pay tribute ... presented at the 2016 National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) Annual Education Conference (AEC) ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... The Haute Beauty ... Barry M. Weintraub as a prominent plastic surgeon and the network’s newest partner. ... and the most handsome men, look naturally attractive. Plastic surgery should be invisible.” ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Strategic Capital Partners, ... economy by obtaining investment capital for emerging technology companies. SCP has delivered ... already resulted in more than a million dollars of capital investment for five ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Venture Construction Group (VCG) ... held on June 20th at the Woodmont Country Club at 1201 Rockville Pike, ... organization dedicated to helping service members that have been wounded in battle and their ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Advanced Plastic Surgery Institute ( ... as its official Medspa Sponsor. Dr. Josh Olson, a board-certified plastic surgeon, owns ... Dr. Olson says the decision to support the pageant in an official capacity ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)...  VMS Rehab Systems, Inc. ( ) reported ... required to build a strong and stable market for ... on the OTC Markets-pink current trading platform. ... are seeing an anomaly in market trading activities that ... the Company, but shareholders and market players as well. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. , June 24, 2016 ... GBT ), a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics ... significant unmet needs, today announced the closing of ... shares of common stock, at the public offering ... shares in the offering were offered by GBT. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 The Academy ... of recommendations that would allow biopharmaceutical companies ... with entities that make formulary and coverage decisions, a ... "value" of new medicines. The recommendations address ... not appear on the drug label, a prohibition that ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: