Why We Love Learning

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. He presents his theory in an invited article in the latest issue of American Scientist.
“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.”
The brain’s craving for a fix motivates humans to maximize the rate at which they absorb knowledge, he said.

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3 thoughts on “Why We Love Learning

  1. This explains why men more often study math and science then women. Men are bigger junkies then women.

  2. Makes sense to me. Ive had some ecstatic experiences when encountering new and satisfying ideas where everying clicked and came together.
    I’d feel a flash in my head, then a feeling a physical satisfaction.
    (Clinical note: Ive never used recreational drugs in my life, not even pot, and have had a lifelong aversion to alcohol because it fogs my mind.)
    However, these ecstatic experiences, lovely as they are, do not in themselves prove that a particular idea or theory is true.
    All this still has to be tested using the methodology of science or careful journalistic fact checking.
    My advice is if you’re lucky enough to have cognitive ecstacy, by all means enjoy it. But dont make the mistake of thinking enjoyment equals truth.
    You can have a meal cooked by the best French chef in the world and have it be delicious, but if that same is contaminated by pathogenic bacteria, or Hep A virus, it can, despite giving you vast pleasure, still make you sick.

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