Loss of motivation - Deepstash

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Why motivation to learn declines with age

Loss of motivation

Many mental health disorders can skew the ability to evaluate the cost and rewards of an action, such as anxiety and depression.

A depressed person may undervalue potentially rewarding experiences.

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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...

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.

The Brain’s Unique Signal-filtering Process
The Brain’s Unique Signal-filtering Process

Even with massive amounts of information drowning our senses, we can focus on what is important and take action.

The brain’s ability to focus on a particular signal while filtering out the...

Attentional Searchlight
  • While the prefrontal cortex region of the brain had long been studied by neuroscientists, a separate region of the brain, called thalamus came in the picture in 1984, by a new theory that suggested that the region acts as a gatekeeper of the senses, apart from being a relay centre.
  • The region has a thin layer of inhibitory neurons wrapped around it, called the thalamic reticular nucleus(TRN), which acted as ‘gates’ and hid or removed some of the data that is not required at a given time, to establish a level of focus for the individual.
  • The study found that the brain was lowering the unwanted signals to help us focus on the stimuli of interest.
Removal Of Signals: The Blinking Brain

The brain’s ability to focus on one thing while obscuring, curbing or reducing the signal strength of other (presumably unwanted) stimuli can be dangerous if those turn out to be unexpectedly important.

The brain, evolved as it is, has a unique way to handle this issue, by reducing the signal strength of the focused object about four times per second, suppressing what’s important to focus on the other signals, some of which may also be important. The brain is already wired to blink.

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....
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.