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Fitness & Health

02nd May 2012

Are you lazy? Maybe your brain is just wired that way…

Have you ever been accused of being lazy? Hey, it's not your fault. Maybe you're just wired for underachievement...


Have you ever been accused of being lazy or being a bit of a slacker? Well the good news is that maybe you’re just wired for under achievement. Eh…yeah…good news…

The Irish Independent reports that a new study suggests that laziness and a lack of motivation could just be down to the way in which your brain works. What is leading scientists to believe that it’s literally all in our heads?

Well apparently they’ve just managed to identify some neural pathways within the human brain that can actually influence how willing you are to work hard in order to earn money or excel at your job.

In fact, brain scans that were done on people who are considered “go-getters” and people who are “slackers” showed specific differences in three separate parts of the brain.

The go-getters had more of the chemical dopamine in the striatum and ventromedial prefrontal cortex of the brain. In layman’s terms – two parts of their brain had this chemical floating around. The chemical, dopamine, is known for having an influence on motivation and feelings of reward when something is achieved.

In comparison, the slackers, had higher levels of dopamine in an area of the brain called the anterior insula. This part of the brain is involved with emotions and risk perceptions.

“Past studies in rats have shown that dopamine is crucial for reward motivation. But this study provides new information about how dopamine determines individual differences in the behaviour of human reward-seekers,” said psychologist Michael Treadway from Vanderbilt University in the US.

Dr Treadway co-led the research, and the findings were published in the latest issue of the Journal of Neurosciences.

The scientists who conducted the study, which saw volunteers pushing various buttons with money as a reward, said that they were surprised by the impact of dopamine on the brain.

Their research suggests that more dopamine in the anterior insula area of the brain causes a reduced desire to work, even if money is offered as a reward. In the past dopamine has always been considered to enhance reward-driven behaviour.

The study shows that dopamine can have opposite effects in different parts of the brain. This discovery could complicate how health issues like ADD, depression and schizophrenia are treated in the future.

So there you have it. You’re not lazy, you just have too much dopamine in your anterior insula.

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