Brain’s Dopamine Levels May Determine Individuals’ Work Ethic

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Are you a go-getter or slacker? New research from the Journal of Neuroscience suggests that an individual’s willingness to work hard is determined by the levels of dopamine found in 3 specific areas of the brain.

Using brain-mapping technology, positron emission tomography (PET scan), researchers found that people who work harder for rewards had a higher release of dopamine in the striatum and ventromedial prefrontal cortex of the brain.

Those who were less willing to work hard for rewards had high dopamine levels in the anterior insula portion of the brain, which controls emotion and risk perception.

Scientists were shocked to find this discovery. It suggests that more dopamine in this area of the brain is associated with laziness and less desire to work, even if it means earning less money.

Learning that high dopamine levels can have opposing effects in different parts of the brain complicates the use of psychotropic medications that affect the treatments of individuals with ADD, depression, and schizophrenia.

The Villa Orlando and Pasadena Villa’s Smoky Mountain Lodge are adult intensive psychiatric residential treatment centers for clients with serious mental illnesses. We also provide other individualized therapy programs, step-down residential programs, and less intensive mental health services, such as Community Residential Homes, Supportive Housing, Day Treatment Programs and Life Skills training. Pasadena Villa’s Outpatient Center in Raleigh, North Carolina offers partial hospitalization (PHP) and an intensive outpatient program (PHP). If you or someone you know may need mental health services, please complete our contact form or call us at 407-215-2519 for more information.

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