neophilia

I’ve always been keen on newness. Now I learn that what I thought was an enthusiasm might in fact be an addiction.

JH Austin on endogenous endorphins:

Novelty releases beta-endorphin into the brain. If humans respond anything like rats, beta-endorphin would begin to increase after only two minutes in the new environment. This fascinating link between novelty and brain endorphin has very practical applications. One reason is that beta-endorphin appears to “mark” with some sense of salience a current task that might be put to use in the future. No old, mundane, overlearned task will do. To increase beta-endorphin will take something special the challenge of a new training situation or a modification in the existing one. Another practical point is that when some new situation does present itself, it will usually require the brain to invent a new kind of response. in this respect, the release of endorphin and ACTH together may, in a sense, be a way to clear the decks, a means of getting rid of the old behavior in preparation for the new.

p.219 Austin, J.H. (1999) Zen and the Brain, MIT Press

About caspar

Caspar is just one monkey among billions. Battering his keyboard without expectations even of peanuts, let alone of aping the Immortal Bard. By day he is an infantologist at Birkbeck Babylab, by night he runs BabyLaughter.net
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