Surfing The Wierd

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Aggression as Good as Sex, Dope & Rock and Roll

http://www.60secondscience.com/archive/psychology-neuroscience-news-articles/aggression-feels-as-good-as-se.php#more

Aggression feels as good as sex, drugs, and rock and roll

Everyone gets a rise out of watching the 5 foot 8 receiver get jacked up by the 250 pound linebacker. Here's why 16 million viewers of Sunday Night football can't help but love watching the big hits.

The brain processes aggression as a reward, similar to the way it reacts to sex, food and drugs, according to new research.

In a series of experiments on mice, scientists discovered that mice will literally push the button willingly to introduce more aggression into their lives. Behaving just as they would for the good stuff.

"Aggression occurs among virtually all vertebrates and is necessary to get and keep important resources such as mates, territory and food,” says Craig Kennedy, professor of special education and pediatrics at Vanderbilt University. “We have found that the ‘reward pathway’ in the brain becomes engaged in response to an aggressive event and that dopamine is involved.”

In the experiments, a male and a female mouse were housed in a cage. Next door, five hungry males waited eagerly for a chance at the lady. The scientists then removed her from the cage and introduced an intruder male mouse in her place.

Things got nasty.

Later, the lone male mouse was taught how he could poke at a target and introduce an intruder into his cage, all by himself. Each day, when the target was introduced, the lone mouse couldn't help himself but pull the trigger.

When the guy was treated with a drug that suppressed his dopamine receptors, he stopped inviting trouble into his home.

"It is well known that dopamine is produced in response to rewarding stimuli such as food, sex and drugs of abuse," said Maria Couppis, who conducted the study. "What we have now found is that it also serves as positive reinforcement for aggression."

The Vanderbilt experiments are the first to demonstrate a link between behavior and the activity of dopamine receptors in response to an aggressive event.

“We learned from these experiments that an individual will intentionally seek out an aggressive encounter solely because they experience a rewarding sensation from it,” Kennedy said. “This shows for the first time that aggression, on its own, is motivating, and that the well-known positive reinforcer dopamine plays a critical role.”

COMMENTS: I wonder if Bushie-Baby gets his dopamine fix via proxy - the aggression of his wars, the violence of fighting and dying of so many thousands of people. WOW! What a rush!

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