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Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Essence of Happiness

orbitofrontal cortex
How are we able to plan activities for pleasure. How is it that we can work the whole month in oreder to be payed and do nice things. How can we postpone direct gratification from our actions. Nature news has an interesting post on new insights into this matter based on animal research.

Animals, they suggest, have a reward system that focuses on specific outcomes — what an action would achieve — which in turn plugs into a more general system that lets us know what feels good.

How do emotion and cognition interact?
The orbitofrontal cortex, which lies at the front of the brain, just above the eyes, is the home of the brain’s cognitive reward system. It acts as a forecaster, predicting the value of different behaviours, learns which ones are ultimately rewarding, and triggers a corresponding emotional response.

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