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Medicine Science

The Neuroscience of Happiness 136

Posted by samzenpus
from the if-you're-happy-and-you-know-it dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Julie Beck has an interesting read in the Atlantic about how our brains are naturally wired to focus on the negative because evolution has optimized our brains for survival, but not necessarily happiness, which means that we feel stressed and unhappy even though there are a lot of positive things in our lives. 'The problem is that the brain is very good at building brain structure from negative experiences,' says neuropsychologist Dr. Rick Hanson. 'We learn immediately from pain—you know, "once burned, twice shy." As our ancestors evolved, they needed to pass on their genes. And day-to-day threats like predators or natural hazards had more urgency and impact for survival. On the other hand, positive experiences like food, shelter, or mating opportunities, those are good, but if you fail to have one of those good experiences today, as an animal, you would have a chance at one tomorrow. But the brain is relatively poor at turning positive experiences into emotional learning neural structure. 'Positive thinking by definition is conceptual and generally verbal and most conceptual or verbal material doesn't have a lot of impact on how we actually feel or function over the course of the day. A lot of people have this kind of positive, look on the bright side yappity yap, but deep down they're very frightened, angry, sad, disappointed, hurt, or lonely.' Dr. Hanson proposes several ideas for helping 're-wire' our brains for happiness. One of them is that we need to learn how to move positive experiences from short-term buffers to long-term storage. 'But to move from a short-term buffer to long-term storage, an experience needs to be held in that short-term buffer long enough for it to transfer to long-term storage,' says Hanson. 'When people are having positive thinking or even most positive experiences, the person is not taking the extra 10, 20 seconds to heighten the installation into neural structure. So it's not just positive thinking that's wasted on the brain; it's most positive experiences that are wasted on the brain.'"
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The Neuroscience of Happiness

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  • How to Build a Happier Brain:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0V4TZAyd8I [youtube.com]
  • by 50000BTU_barbecue (588132) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @10:26PM (#45230763) Homepage Journal
    It's called Scotch Whisky. Just another gift from the Scots. That and logarithms and engineers. (Oh and haggis!)
    • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @11:06PM (#45230925) Homepage Journal

      And kilts! Don't forget the kilts. I'm Italian, and I love to wear my kilts, though I do tend to get a lot of dandruff on my shoes.

      • I love to wear my kilts, though I do tend to get a lot of dandruff on my shoes.

        You're taking it to a new level, eh? :)

  • by turning in circles (2882659) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @10:29PM (#45230777)
    Research has shown that gratitude, admiration, elevation of others increases people's happiness more than remembering being happy. Not sure how it scores against Scotch whiskey.
    • by jaymzter (452402)

      So does anyone have an evolutionary explanation for happiness or any of the other stuff you were talking about? I'd like to think my cat admires me, but Churchill is of the opinion she looks down on me. Yet we're both just animals?

      • Quoting: Evolutionary theories propose that gratitude is an adaptation for reciprocal altruism (the sequential exchange of costly benefits between nonrelatives) and, perhaps, upstream reciprocity (a pay-it-forward style distribution of an unearned benefit to a third party after one has received a benefit from another benefactor). Gratitude therefore may have played a unique role in human social evolution. --McCullough et al, too lazy to give you a full quote, here's DOI: doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8721.2008.00590
      • by khallow (566160)

        Yet we're both just animals?

        You're the food delivery, door opening, and emergency heat source animal, so you have to be tolerated. But let's not get crazy with this "happiness" thing.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @10:33PM (#45230797) Journal
    Once you've had enough pain in your life, you learn to appreciate the good things you have. If you wake up in the morning and the first thing you think is, "Oh yeah, carpet under my feet! I remember when I didn't have carpet, this is so much better." That sort of thing does wonders for your happiness levels.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Carpet and potable water right from the tap. Those things are everyday wonders to those of us that have had to live with next to nothing. Toilets, air conditioning, warm food, cold beer, and electricity are nice, but at the top of the list of comforts is carpet and tap water.

      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday October 25, 2013 @08:06AM (#45232637) Journal
        Every morning, I turn on my shower and let potable water run down the drain while I wait for the it to heat up. The fact that I have hot running water, and can afford to let potable water go to waste like that without much thought places me not just in the wealthiest 10% of people currently alive, but in the wealthiest 1% of people who have ever lived. Spending a moment pondering that in the morning makes you feel very lucky to be born into a society that can take such things for granted.
    • Your brain isn't wired for happiness. Case in point, I experienced true happiness twice; once while on ecstasy, and life as a child.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        After doing yoga for 10 years, I can provoke ecstacy / bliss by pure will at any time!

        It's just relaxation of a "muscle" (I don't know exactly what it is, but it's very simple once you've got familiar with it).

        I find people trying to remember "happy times", often seem desperate and full of unreleased negative feelings. To choke it down with "frantic partying", "happy times" and "remember the glories past", only makes it stronger over time.

        Feelings need to be felt and recognized. With the right practice, the

        • by OdinOdin_ (266277)

          The "muscle" maybe called ego. It is usually this that tries to hold onto the nonsense it thinks is important.

          Without the ego there is only the present and the only thing to do in the present is process all feelings without attachment (it is the ego trying to do that 'attaching'). The relaxing you are taking about is the non-attachment.

      • ok, hope your life get better
    • by mattie_p (2512046)

      Once you've had enough pain in your life, you learn to appreciate the good things you have. If you wake up in the morning and the first thing you think is, "Oh yeah, carpet under my feet! I remember when I didn't have carpet, this is so much better." That sort of thing does wonders for your happiness levels.

      I like hardwood floors, you insensitive clod!

      • I pity the fool
      • by X0563511 (793323)

        You must live close to the tropics, then.

        I certainly don't miss waking up and dancing across the bathroom floor not because I was happy or anything - but because anything longer than 1/4 of a second of contact with the freaking floor was so cold that it hurt!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      ... enough pain in your life ... does wonders for your happiness levels.

      Sometimes true and sometimes not: if the pain is likely to come back in a way that you can't control then fear may erode your happiness. If you're bullied or abused on a regular basis by someone in a position of power then the appreciation of not being abused at the moment may be eroded by the fear of what's to come.

    • by wmac1 (2478314)

      Right now I am in trouble with cold water in the shared bathroom in the hostel university has provided to me. In 40s it is a bit hard to take it. For the past 15 months this has been the story (except the few days in between I went to different conferences and stayed at hotel).

      In general yes, I have enjoyed buying household equipment one by one with my ex-wife and building the life (that was eventually ruined after 10 years by a cheating wife). After my father died (I was 18) I left the home and did not hav

    • Where can I contact you in regards to the message in your .sig?
  • I saw a donkey show in Tijuana many years ago but I'm still fuzzy on what I emotionally learned from it.
  • Brain Hax (Score:3, Interesting)

    by srwood (99488) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @10:54PM (#45230877)

    Therapy based upon this has been available for years. No need for a physiological explanation: http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ804035.pdf

    • But now that we have an explanation, it is no longer feel good hippy voodoo bullshit. This is how stuff becomes legitimised, insurance covered, not just fooling yourself therapy.
      Thanks, science!

  • That's why you want to save meals and sex for when you've been good.

    • That's why you want to save meals and sex for when you've been good.

      I assume you're talking about the giving of rather than the receiving of :-)

  • Animal trainers have demonstrated repeatedly that positive reinforcement is more effective at eliciting behavior than negative. In other words, the carrot works better than the stick.

    To me, this seems contradictory.

    • by xtronics (259660) on Thursday October 24, 2013 @11:35PM (#45231019) Homepage

      Animal trainers have demonstrated repeatedly that positive reinforcement is more effective at eliciting behavior than negative. In other words, the carrot works better than the stick.

      To me, this seems contradictory.

      There is a lot of papers on the point you bring up. What makes something positive? Eating after not having food is positive or is it the end of a negative experience? If you have plenty to eat, is food still a reward? (animal trainers keep their animals a bit hungry ).

      So is a paycheck positive? Or is it preventing a negative. etc etc..

    • by venicebeach (702856) on Friday October 25, 2013 @12:21AM (#45231151) Homepage Journal
      Reward is useful for shaping behavior, but it turns out not to be particularly effective at creating happiness. See: drug addiction.
  • Irrevelant. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Happiness does not matter to the human race.

    The PURSUIT of happiness drives us. But obtaining it... The goal is met. We are done.

    So that can't happen very often or we fail as a species.

    • The PURSUIT of the car drives us. But obtaining it... The goal is met. We are done.

      So that can't happen very often or we fail as a species.

      - Fido
  • We shall disapprove! This is our purpose!
  • The soul too, not just the ego. Then you will be happy.

    It is now practicable for any human being to be totally free from malice and sorrow, the two fundamental elements which prevent one from being happy and harmless. Gone now are the days of having to assiduously practice humility and pacifism in an ultimately futile attempt to become free by transcending the opposites ... the traditional and narrow path of denial and fantasy, negation and hallucination. A wide and wondrous path of blitheness and gaiety is now available for one who wishes to live the freedom of the actual.

    Actual freedom [actualfreedom.com.au] is a tried and tested way of being happy and harmless in the world as it actually is ... stripped of the veneer of normal reality or Greater Reality which is super-imposed by the psychological and/or psychic entity within the body. This entity is that feeling of identity which inhibits any freedom and sabotages every well-meant endeavour. Thus far one has had only two choices: being normal or being spiritual. Now there is a third alternative ... and it supersedes any humanistic philosophical worldview and/or any mystical Altered State Of Consciousness.

  • This doesn’t make sense. If the brain spent more time dwelling on the negative, why do people gamble? It seems to me that’s the exact opposite: the brain focuses on past good fortune (I put money in this machine and got a little more back), not the bad (I put money in this machine and nothing happened). Clearly the bad result will happen far more often than the good result, yet many otherwise average people waste millions of dolars and hours of their lives in front of slot machines.

    • Part of that is that it's engineered to not be as much of a negative when you lose. Each spin is a small enough amount of money that you won't freak out and when you lose, nothing happens. When you win, even a fairly small amount of money there's flashing lights and sounds and all sorts of excitement. Compare to the number of people who enjoy public speaking. The actual negative result wasn't that bad, but being embarrassed in front of a large crowd made such a big impact on them mentally that they avoid th

  • Idleness (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dripdry (1062282) on Friday October 25, 2013 @12:40AM (#45231207) Journal

    One thing I'd like to be sure isn't lost here is the clearly stated difficulty: Keeping a positive moment in mind long enough for it to go to long term storage.
    If we don't have enough time to stop and appreciate positive moments they are lost, obviously.

    There is a body of literature on idleness and over the last few years I've begun to amass a collection of it. The more I follow idleness as an art, as a way of being, the happier I've become. It hasn't gotten rid of too many negatives, per se, but I find myself happier in general (though that might be due to any number of other factors, correlation/causation etc). It has even contributed to a little delinquency, for sure (hooray fun!), but seems on the whole a good habit.

    It's been said many times, but this article bears it out: If we don't stop to smell the roses and really appreciate them, appreciate others and the gifts we bring each other every day, we are rushing blindly and headlong toward just physical death, but the death of the spirit too.

    So you, yes you, the person with 4 monitors, a tablet, and an iPhone buzzing with facebook while the TV is blaring in the background, who feels all high off gadgetry (and maybe cheetos)... I dare you to try the hardest thing you'll ever do: Stop and do nothing for a day. Just sit, stare out a window, make a pot of tea. Just stop. and. be. idle.

    Though if you do get antsy I can recommend reading "How to Be Idle", a fun read and an antidote of sorts.

    • Re:Idleness (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Dripdry (1062282) on Friday October 25, 2013 @12:45AM (#45231237) Journal

      Have you ever noticed how being idle REALLY pisses off the masters and drivers of our economy? People like Edison HATED idlers (though he himself took naps ALL the time) If we were idle, what then would we consume? Not nearly as much, I wager. We might think, might eventually interact with each other in the real world, and might accomplish more than moving a few pixels about a screen or some metal and plastic from one place to another. Forfend!

      And now... I'm going to go take a long, delightful snooze.

    • Re:Idleness (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ledow (319597) on Friday October 25, 2013 @01:31AM (#45231397) Homepage

      It's also, if you are one, one of the best things about being introvert.

      Most people associate introversion with shyness / being pathetic / being socially inadequate. Though I'm sure that's true of a lot of people (and probably even myself), it's not the sole cause.

      The cause is that sitting quietly and thinking and just enjoying the "idleness" is MORE attractive to the introvert than being thrown into a social situation where they are forced to discuss, at length, things like the weather, or how shit their job is, or what that idiot on reality TV is doing at the moment, etc.

      I find that being in a party (even a dinner party situation, as I've gotten older) is really one of the most stressful things I can find. Having to make small-talk (yuck). Having to be nice to people I don't particularly know well. Having to be doing SOMETHING all the time. Not being left alone ("come and dance", "don't sit there, come meet my friend", etc.).

      You can spot this by putting an introvert near another. They will get on. They will get on by being able to talk about only things they find interesting (and if there's a common ground, they'll find it) and not have to worry about saying "something" all the time, no matter how inane the conversation. They'll still chat and discuss their lives but only the bits they are interested in, the positive notes of their lives, and strenuously try to find something interesting in the other person.

      Put them in a room with a guy who just wants to talk about himself, gets pent up being quiet in a room, etc. and you'll see that both hate the situation.

      It's enjoying the peace, the quiet, the lazily wandering around the house that allows people like myself to relax and enjoy life. No, I don't find rushing out to every friend's house relaxing. I'd invite them over, one-to-one, to watch a movie, or play some board games or read a book, or even just sit out in the garden chatting.

      The problem comes from people who don't understand this: "How can you just sit there?" Easy. Watch.
      "Why don't you get out more and do lots of things?" Because I'm happy here. Doing little.

      Is it laziness as in lack-of-effort-when-it's-required? No. It's a choice to NOT do some things when they aren't necessary at all. That feeling that most only get when they get home from a strenuous day at work and get to sit down for five minutes before they then rush off to do other things? I feel that a lot. Because those other things aren't as important as me relaxing and enjoying life.

      We are blessed to live in a modern age where you don't have to work from the second you wake to the second you sleep, not get enough sleep anyway, and have to fight through the day against everything from nature to other people. Enjoy life while you have it. Because waiting for retirement to sit down and have even ten minutes to yourself is STUPENDOUSLY unhealthy and dangerous.

      My weekend is coming up. I plan to do little. And that which I do plan to do, I've chosen to do, and it's quite non-strenuous (Jupiter is visible tomorrow night if I'm lucky with the weather - I'll go outside in the evening, set up a scope, and sit in the garden looking at stars... a really physically taxing hobby that I've discovered recently to be wonderfully engaging for my brain without being strenuous at all).

      I'm sure there are people who would hate the idea of the whole concept and who don't even understand it. But, for some, it's the perfect way to live.

      • by awg090 (2936619)
        Thank you. I learned something about myself from this; I learned that I already do a lot of it.
      • An exceptional post (on an exceptional thread). Thank you.

        You might enjoy something I wrote [just-think-it.com] about a father-son activity of my youth. Dad was a man of sparse words, who enjoyed his alone time for sure.

        I never would have thought so until now but, by your post's "definition", I am an introvert. [I thought I was just a "thinker", or someone trying to be. Maybe they are the same, or similar?]
    • The more I follow idleness as an art, as a way of being, the happier I've become. It hasn't gotten rid of too many negatives, per se, but I find myself happier in general

      This is the most insightful thing I've read here, since it gets at the heart of the many things wrong with TFA.

      As I understand TFA, it's trying to blame the high rate of depression, anxiety "disorders," etc. in our modern culture on an evolutionary preference to emphasize bad experiences and memories.

      I think that's a load of BS. It's a typical attempt by psychology to connect to evolution, where we don't actually think through the implications and logic of the argument.

      If TFA were actually true, thin

  • Learn to play, noob! [l2pnoob.org] was written partially to address some of the things that make people gratuitiously unhappy.

  • by ElitistWhiner (79961) on Friday October 25, 2013 @12:59AM (#45231309) Journal

    Having what you want
    over
    Wanting what you have

  • by stenvar (2789879) on Friday October 25, 2013 @01:31AM (#45231395)

    If you prefer to optimize for happiness, there are lots of drugs to help you with that.

    Unfortunately, optimizing for happiness has serious disadvantages even in modern society. Preferentially learning from painful experiences has its benefits even today.

    • by slew (2918) on Friday October 25, 2013 @04:00AM (#45231885)

      As someone who optimizes for happiness and doesn't indulge in mind altering substances (unless you count the occasional good prime NY strip cooked medium rare), I haven't noticed any disadvantages you seem to be alluding to. Would you care to elaborate?

      Not saying optimizing for happiness is what everyone should do (to each his own), but I don't even understand what it is like to go through life mostly motivated by attempting to avoid unhappiness (or pain, or whatever the opposite of what I'm doing is).

      It's not to say I'm happy all the time (I think people would be delusional if they were), but if I had to figuratively walk across coals to get some literal happiness, I probably would consider it. I'm guessing a person with the opposite temperament would avoid this simply to avoid the temporary unhappiness of the figurative coals. No pain, no gain?

      The /. summary doesn't do the article justice (okay that's not a revelation). They didn't say a lot people have some sort of happiness faÃade, the author said "I know a lot of people..." that means something totally different. Maybe (I'm guessing) that person knows a bunch of sad, angry, lonely, hurt or frightened people that could benefit from his advice (or perhaps could sell a self help book to?). He is a therapist after all (and no doubt sees a bunch of folks with serious psychological problems).

      As to feigned happiness somehow being a cover up for some feelings of sadness, angry, lonely, hurt, or frightened feelings, I think that might be mostly restricted to people that need external validation. For example, I'm asking myself, if I was angry or lonely, why hide it by attempting to feign happiness to someone who could give a rats ass about what I felt? (since most folks give a rats ass about the affairs of total strangers or even casual acquaintances).

      As many people will attest, when you stop caring what other people think about you, your happiness level will increase greatly... Perhaps this is the "clear" (not necessarily happy) thinking the author is alluding to that is necessary to be happy?

      • by stenvar (2789879)

        In the context of the article, we've been talking about evolution optimizing your brain for achieving more happiness than it currently can achieve. You can mimic that with drugs, and it's a bad thing.

        You are trying to optimize your happiness through your choices and that's what you're supposed to do. In fact, the reason evolution doesn't optimize the brain for achieving more happiness more easily is precisely so that you have lots of room to optimize your happiness through behavior.

        • by slew (2918)

          I don't think you read the same article (aka self help book infomercial) I did.

          1. The article does really talk about "evolution optimizing your brain for achieving more happiness that it currenty can achieve". It posits that "the brain is relatively poor at turning positive experiences into emotional learning neural structure." I don't see how these are related.

          2. The article doesn't really talk about behavior at all. It talks about learning and how survival learning has priority.

          3. It also talks alot ab

          • by stenvar (2789879)

            It posits that "the brain is relatively poor at turning positive experiences into emotional learning neural structure." I don't see how these are related.

            It is "poor" at this because that's what motivates you to actually do things day to day.

            2. The article doesn't really talk about behavior at all. It talks about learning and how survival learning has priority.

            Yes, and that's its problem. Your brain evolved certain levels of happiness and satisfaction for the purpose of modifying your behavior.

            3. It also ta

            • by slew (2918)

              FWIW the statement "Think of all the people who tell you why the world is a good place, but theyâ(TM)re still jerks." was a direct quote from the interview with the author in the article.

              My response "Not sure why anyone would take advice from someone with that attitude..." was a comment on the potential validity of their points given this attitude...

              • by stenvar (2789879)

                Ah, yes. I compared to all the other crap in the article, that just paled. Point is: you're pre-wired not to be too happy for a reason.

                The real problem isn't that people are irrationally unhappy or stressed out, the point is that they are stressed out over the wrong things. There are plenty of things to be scared of and that people could do something about: lack of exercise, bad nutrition, lack of savings and retirement, lack of networking, financial fraud, untrustworthy partners, etc. Yet, what people actu

    • If you prefer to optimize for happiness, there are lots of drugs to help you with that.

      Unfortunately, optimizing for happiness has serious disadvantages even in modern society. Preferentially learning from painful experiences has its benefits even today.

      I find, I believe largely due to the way our lives have gone so far, that I am a worrier and my partner is a happy, happy non-worrier. It can be really fucking annoying when I'm focused on serious things and she starts talking about cookies or some shit but overall I guess it balances out - helps me stop focusing only on bad things. Presumably better for the kids too, to have a balance.

  • We all know how to get happy. Pump enough SRAs [wikipedia.org] into a person and he IS happy, whether he wants to or not.

    Strangely, though, I have that suspicion that our governments don't want us to be happy. That list reads a bit like a schedule 1 who is who...

    • by jergantic (148640)

      But this only works for a short period until the person's body gets accustomed, leaving them unhappier than before and now addicted to an expensive drug, right? I haven't heard that anyone's invented Soma from Brave New World yet.

      • Hardly, the problem is rather that some of those substances are rather taxing on the rest of your physiology (especially cardiac troubles are far from impossible). What matters is dosage and responsible use.

        Of course you can go overboard and blow yourself into an orbit, but you can do that with SRIs quite easily, too, though these are fairly trivial to get, some even without seeing a doc first. Of course, they don't really work as well at the "get happy" front, they're rather making you fairly UNhappy when

  • by Tristan Palmer (3394267) on Friday October 25, 2013 @04:41AM (#45232029)
    I struggled with depression for many years and eventually came up with a simple exercise to increase happiness: At the end of the day I write down as many good things that happened that day as I can; they can be as simple as having a nice sandwich or the enjoyment I got from listening to music. I aim to write at least five a day. I then read back over the last couple of weeks entries too. The way I figure it, the problem was that when I felt bad about something I couldn't remember the good things in life clearly enough for those memories to combat the feelings of sadness (ie. my brain hadn't burnt the good memories in clearly enough). I took the simple and proven techniques that I use when learning a new subject (write good notes, read over those notes several times) and applied them to emotional memories instead of facts. Works very well, only takes up 5 minutes a day.
    • How about writing them to Twitter instead? That could be an interesting combination. Those small snippets of enjoyment would make great tweets.
    • Just to note here that we shouldn't confuse emotional depression with physical depression.

      People who suffer from so-called 'atypical' physical depression can't 'cure' themselves with happiness -- although granted it sure helps with coping, coping is all people with atypical depression can realistically do.

      Being happy won't solve your fatigue, anxiety etc. But it'l make it a bit more tolerable to be sure.

  • A couple of years ago we were told that the brain was hard wired to be significantly over-optimistic (see this TIME article [time.com] or Google "optimism bias" for more examples). Now we're told that the opposite is true? What gives?
  • Happiness & Pleasure (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eulernet (1132389) on Friday October 25, 2013 @05:14AM (#45232141)

    The author is unable to differentiate happiness and pleasure !

    Pleasure comes when I have a good experience. Pain comes when I have a bad experience.

    Happiness is totally different !
    Happiness appears mostly after pleasure.
    For example, if I make love with my beloved partner, and I have an orgasm, I'll experience pleasure.
    After the orgasm, I feel happy, because I feel at peace with my partner.

    Happiness is simply a state of mind: I become happy when I'm in peace.
    Pleasure is external (or related to external stimuli), and happiness is internal.
    For example, when I meditate (=when I stop all my thoughts), I experience happiness.
    Happiness is so easy to reach that in fact nobody really wants happiness, because it's so boring: nothing happens.

    Everybody seeks pleasure, and pleasure always comes with pain.

    • The author is unable to differentiate happiness and pleasure !

      No, the author is very well able to differentiate happiness and pleasure. The brain is clearly wired for pleasure, it has an extensive reward system that can even be tricked into working overtime (leading to addiction).

      His point is that our brains have a natural bias towards storing and recalling negative experiences over positive experiences. We have evolved to immediately learn from physical and emotional pain because learning to avoid pain is a better survival strategy than learning to seek pleasure.

      • by eulernet (1132389)

        I totally agree with your point, because we learn a lot more from failure (pain) than from success (pleasure).
        I'm still baffled why people avoid failure, when failure provides so much lessons (of course, small failures are preferred to big failures).

        But my point was about happiness, not about pain/pleasure.
        Why talking about happiness, when in reality the author talks about pleasure ?

        From the article:
        >And yet on the other hand, many people today would report that they have a fundamental sense of feeling s

    • by Guest316 (3014867)
      >pleasure always comes with pain.
      We have all eternity to know your flesh.
  • I suspect that the difference here isn't just something trivial, but in fact something deeper and more hard-wired.

    The fact is that we learn far, far more in a basic survival sense from losing than winning. We learn more about what's dangerous, what to avoid, and what can hurt us from negative experiences than from positive....ergo, what are the experiences that need to go into deep-storage? Negative ones.

    We're programmed to remember bad stuff.

  • So basically this author just proved that spanking, caning, and wiping are the best learning techniques, and positive reinforcement is a baseless pseudo-science.

  • I'm happiest when I can think clearly. I'm also a cigarette smoker. I've noticed that I tend to reach for cigarettes when I'm reading or thinking about something complicated. Is there a connection? Is this true for anyone else? Does anyone with a pharmacological background know if nicotine is nootropic?

  • This would seem to go against the very well supported and proven theory that positive reinforcement is more powerful than negative reinforcement in training.

The Universe is populated by stable things. -- Richard Dawkins

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