Thursday, June 22, 2006

This is your brain on ...


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, said Irving Biederman of the University of Southern California. ...

"While you're trying to understand a difficult theorem, it's not fun," said Biederman, professor of neuroscience in the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

"But once you get it, you just feel fabulous."

Like many new findings in psychology, this one too must somehow be grounded in evolution, right? So, what might be the evolutionary explanation for this 'Eureka fix'?

Biederman hypothesized that knowledge addiction has strong evolutionary value because mate selection correlates closely with perceived intelligence.

Mate selection. Of course. Now, that gave me a high!

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While we are on 'Eureka!', I just wanted to link to Dilip's post on Archimedes, "who first showed the world that the thinkers could defeat the thugs."


  1. Anonymous said...

    This is probably variable; differs from individual to individual. Remember the dislike of philosophers and and intellectuals in many societies including Nazi Germany. As somebody said Socrates did not die from drinking Coca Cola.