July 04, 2003
Happiness Center Found In Brain

Takeshi Satow, of the Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan, has discovered that applying an electrical stimulation to an area on the surface of the inferior temporal gyrus region of the brain produces happiness and laughter.

Researchers found the tickle spot on one epileptic woman's brain when they realized that stimulating a specific brain region caused her to feel happy and laugh.

This brings to mind an excellent story written by Spider Robinson entitled God Is An Iron about a woman who was trying to commit suicide by starving to death while hooked up to a device that gave her intense continuous pleasure. That story became the second chapter of his novel Mindkiller.

While current drugs for making people more happy are fairly crude it seems inevitable that far more narrowly focused techniques for inducing happiness with fewer side effects will be developed. Whether, as in Robinson's story, someone will want to be happy and still want to kill themself remains to be seen.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2003 July 04 12:09 PM  Biological Mind

Patrick said at July 6, 2003 3:48 PM:

Don't forget Larry Niven's Ringworld series, where one of the main characters is a reformed "wirehead", an addict that has fed a remote control wire into the happyness centre of the brain and sits around electrically stimulating it.

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