Monday, February 15, 2010

Your brain wants you to be successful

Research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology neuroscientist Earl Miller suggests that our brains are inherently wired toward success. Miller's research shows that not only does the brain learn more from success than from failure, but it seeks out success.

The pleasurable feeling that comes with successes is brought about by a surge in the neurotransmitter dopamine. By telling brain cells when they have struck gold, the chemical apparently signals them to keep doing whatever they did that lead to success. In other words success leads to more and more success.

"We have shown that brain cells keep track of whether recent behaviors were successful or not," Miller said. Furthermore, when a behavior was successful, cells became more finely tuned to what the animal was learning. After a failure, there was little or no change in the brain - nor was there any improvement in behavior.

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