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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Pleasure of Finding Things Out (Opiates!)

Sure, Feynman wrote on the Pleasure of Finding Things Out (and I love Feynman's books for non-physicists), but Irving Biederman of the University of Southern California believes that the pleasure in finding things out may be that "...[t]he "click" of comprehension triggers a biochemical cascade that rewards the brain with a shot of natural opium-like substances."

An article on Biederman's theory is here, and here's Discovery Channel's coverage.

My wife is a scholar of art and design history. Does this lend new meaning to the They Might Be Giants song "The Statue Got Me High"? [lyrics]

If we fancy ourselves people who enjoy learning, are we really just a sort of benign addict? Does this explain the sometime resulting depression when smart (and/or intellectually curious) people are not intellectually challenged? Are they really intellectually curious, or just addicts?

(Someone, please be impressed that I managed to cram neuroscience, TMBG, Art History, and Feynman into one post.)


mick said...

I AM pretty impressed.

David Rothman said...

Thanks, Mick! You have no idea what that means to me.