fMRI studies show that people who score on novelty seeking scores (high exploratory, extravagant response to potential pleasures) also score the highest on emotional expectancy and activation of the medial prefrontal cortex (reward). Eide Neurolearning Blog
A new study provides intriguing insight into the way that humans approach novel situations. The research, published in the April 29 issue of the journal Neuron, reveals neural mechanisms that underlie our remarkable ability to discover abstract cognitive relationships when dealing with new problems.
While the new study demonstrates that humans are not completely focused on their own self-interests, it is unclear how the physiological evidence translates to behaviors in real-world circumstances. Humans experience physiological and emotional rewards from helping others and donating to charities, but the brain seems to stop short of wanting to redistribute wealth across the board. The association between work, reward and equality, and the brain’s mechanisms underlying all of them, remain unclear.
...Self-control constitutes a fundamental aspect of human nature. Yet there is reason to believe that human and nonhuman self-control processes rely on the same biological mechanism—the availability of glucose in the bloodstream. Two experiments tested this hypothesis by examining the effect of available blood glucose on the ability of dogs to exert self-control. Experiment 1 showed that dogs that were required to exert self-control on an initial task persisted for a shorter time on a subsequent unsolvable task than did dogs that were not previously required to exert self-control. Experiment 2 demonstrated that providing dogs with a boost of glucose eliminated the negative effects of prior exertion of self-control on persistence; this finding parallels a similar effect in humans. These findings provide the first evidence that self-control relies on the same limited energy resource among humans and nonhumans. Our results have broad implications for the study of self-control processes in human and nonhuman species. — Psychological Science
The computer metaphor has served brain science well as a tool for comprehending neural systems. Nevertheless, we propose here that this metaphor be replaced or supplemented by a new metaphor, the "Internet metaphor," to reflect dramatic new network theoretic understandings of brain structure and function. [J Cogn Neurosci. 2010]