Dopamine Related to Motivation?

Neuroscience and Conflict Resolution Blog by Stephanie West Allen

After reading books such as Psychology’s Ghosts: The Crisis in the Profession and the Way Back, I am even more likely to see most research studies as, at best, clues, and clues only only in the material world. That’s how I view this study written about below, but I post the news release here because I can never be reminded too often that we are each different; this study is another reminder that one size does not fit all.

News release from Society for Neuroscience:

DIFFERENCES IN DOPAMINE MAY DETERMINE HOW HARD PEOPLE WORK

Washington, DC — Whether someone is a “go-getter” or a “slacker” may depend on individual differences in the brain chemical dopamine, according to new research in the May 2 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. The findings suggest that dopamine affects cost-benefit analyses.

The study found that people who chose to put in more effort — even in the face of long odds — showed greater dopamine response in the striatum and ventromedial prefrontal cortex, areas of the brain important in reward and motivation. In contrast, those who were least likely to expend effort showed increased dopamine response in the insula, a brain region involved in perception, social behavior, and self-awareness.

Researchers led by Michael Treadway, a graduate student working with David Zald, PhD, at Vanderbilt University, asked participants to rapidly press a button in order to earn varying amounts of money. Participants got to decide how hard they were willing to work depending on the odds of a

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Stephanie West Allen

Stephanie West Allen, JD, practiced law in California for several years, held offices in local bar associations, and wrote chapters for California Continuing Education of the Bar. While in CA, Stephanie completed several five-day mediation training programs with the Center for Mediation in Law, as well as a two-year intensive… MORE >

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