Motivation to learn - Deepstash

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Why motivation to learn declines with age

Motivation to learn

Motivation to learn

As people get older, they often lose their motivation to learn new things. This get-up-and-go attitude is vital for our social well-being and learning.

In order to survive, we need to be able to learn what is good for us, and what is bad for us. But, a person may value a reward so highly that the risk of experiencing a possible cost is ignored. Another may wish to avoid the cost to the exclusion of all rewards. This may result in reward-driven learning in some, and cost-driven learning in others.

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Dopamine
Dopamine

Dopamine plays many roles in the brain. It is related to movement, motivation, and reinforcement of behavior.

Dopamine appears to exert significant effects in two regions of the brain's cortex, the motor cortex, and the insular cortex. The insular cortex is critical for many cognitive functions related to the perception of the body's internal states, including physical and emotional states.

Tracking dopamine

Dopamine, like other neurotransmitters, helps neurons communicate with each other over short distances. Most of the brain's dopamine is produced in the midbrain by neurons that connect to the striatum.

High dopamine concentrations do not make the neurons more active. However, they do make the neurons remain active for a more extended period of time, suggesting a longer response to the reward. It may have something to do with how dopamine promotes learning, which is one of its main functions.

Long-range effects

Researchers set out to determine if dopamine might affect more distant locations in the brain.

The regions that showed the most significant surges in activity in response to dopamine were the motor cortex and the insular cortex. The findings can help researchers understand the effects of dopamine in the human brain, including its roles in addiction and learning.

Detecting Loneliness
Detecting Loneliness
  • Scientific literature has linked loneliness to depression, anxiety, alcoholism, and drug abuse.
  • Loneliness makes you more likely to fall ill by suppressing healthy immune function.
  • Biochemical changes from loneliness an accelerate cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer's.
  • The ability to detect and measure it could help identify those at risk.
Loneliness is subjective

It's possible to be completely isolated and feel invigorated.

It is also possible to be surrounded by a crowd or be accompanied by close friends and feel lonely.

Research on loneliness findings
  • Research showed that after social isolation, subjects' brain scans showed more activity in the midbrain when shown pictures of social cues.
  • When subjects were hungry but had not been socially isolated, they showed a similar reaction to food cues, but not social ones. This shows that the drive for social contact and for things like food seems to be represented in a similar way.
When you're in love

When humans fall in love, their bodies are actively producing feel-good hormones and preventing the release of negative hormones.

When this process suddenly stops, the "withdrawal" felt can be extremely difficult to process both on an emotional and physiological level.

Going through a breakup

Heartbreak is a form of grief and loss that can cause serious issues with insomnia, anxiety and depression.

The pain we feel during heartbreak is similar to the physical pain we feel due to a severe burn on a broken arm.

Healing from a breakup

  • Visual reminders are likely to create dopamine surges in your brain that relate to feelings of craving and withdrawal.
  • Replace those surges of dopamine by taking a fitness class. Exercise can also release endorphins that trigger positive feelings.
  • Find a "new normal".
  • Accept the reason for the breakup.