Brain’s “reward center” responds to bad experiences, not just good ones

February 22, 2011 at 3:52 pm Leave a comment

GRA Eminent Scholar Joe Tsien at Georgia Health Sciences University and his colleagues at East China Normal University suggest that the so-called reward center of the brain may need new name.  They have shown that both good experiences — like eating chocolate — and bad ones — like thoughts of falling off a building — trigger dopamine neurons.

“We have believed that dopamine was always engaged in reward and processing of hedonic feeling,” Tsien said. “What we have found is that dopamine neurons also are stimulated or respond to negative events.”

How memories are created, stored and recovered — and potentially erased — is an important part of the work that is the focus of the GHSU Brain & Behavior Discovery Institute, where Tsien serves as co-director.  Read more here>

Entry filed under: GRA Eminent Scholars, News. Tags: .

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