Finding your reward in information - Deepstash

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The Science of Nerdiness

Finding your reward in information

Much research on dopamine has been done about its role to desire an "appetitive" reward, such as chocolate, social attention, or gambling. However, people who score high in the tendency toward exploration are prone to find their reward in information, not so much in money or drugs.

If some or all of these statements describe you, you may be highly sensitive to the reward value of information:

  • I love spending time reflecting on things.
  • I am full of ideas.
  • I have a vivid imagination.
  • I am interested in abstract ideas.
  • I am curious about many different things.

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The natural preferences of our brain
The natural preferences of our brain

In a perfect world, we would use both success and failure as instructive lessons. But our brain doesn't learn that way. It learns more from some experiences than others.

Confirm...

Choice influences our decision-making

A study found that choice had an apparent influence on decision-making. In the studies subjects learned more when they had a free choice and when the choice gave a higher reward.

However, when participants were forced to select a specific choice, they were less invested in the outcomes, similar to a child mindlessly practicing to please a parent.

Choice-confirmation bias

When people can make a free choice, they embrace positive or negative outcomes that confirm they were right.

Studies show that this tendency persists in both poor and rich conditions. This means the brain is primed to learn with a bias linked to our freely chosen actions. The brain learns differently and more quickly from free choices than forced ones.

Social ambiguity
Social ambiguity

Social life can be full of uncertainty. Friends don't always smile back at you. Strangers sometimes look upset. The question is how you interpret these situations. Do you take everythin...

The victimhood mindset

Researchers found the tendency for interpersonal victimhood consists of four main dimensions:

  • Always seeking recognition for one's victimhood: Those who score high on this dimension have a constant need to have their suffering acknowledged. It is also normal for victims to want the perpetrators to take responsibility for their wrongdoing.
  • Moral elitism: Those who score high on this dimension perceive themselves as having perfect morality while viewing everyone else as immoral. They view themselves as persecuted, vulnerable and morally superior.
  • Lack of empathy for the pain and suffering of others: People who score high on this dimension are so preoccupied with their own victimhood that they are unaware of the pain and suffering of others.
  • Frequently thinking of past victimization: Those scoring high on this dimension continuously think about their interpersonal offences and their causes and consequences rather than about possible solutions.
Mindset and self-image in interpersonal conflicts

In interpersonal conflict, all parties are motivated to maintain a positive moral self-image. However, different parties are likely to create very different subjective realities. Offenders tend to downplay the severity of the transgression, and victims tend to perceive the offenders' motivations as immoral.

The mindset one develops - as a victim or a perpetrator - affects the way the situation is perceived and remembered.

About Consciousness
About Consciousness

Consciousness is everything you experience - taste, pain, love, feeling. Where these experiences come from is a mystery.

Many modern analytic philosophers of mind either d...

Searching For Physical Footprints

What is it about brain matter that gives rise to consciousness? In particular, the neuronal correlates of consciousness (NCC) - the minimal neuronal mechanisms jointly sufficient for any conscious experience.

Consider this question: What must happen in your brain for you to experience a toothache?

Neuronal Correlates of Consciousness (NCC)

The whole brain can be considered an NCC because it generates experience continually.

  • When parts of the cerebellum, the "little brain" underneath the back of the brain, are lost to a stroke or otherwise, patients may lose the ability to play the piano, for example.  But they never lose any aspect of their consciousness. This is because the cerebellum is almost wholly a feed-forward circuit. There are no complex feedback loops.
  • The spinal cord and the cerebellum are not enough to create consciousness. Available evidence suggests neocortical tissue in generating feelings.
  • The next stages of processing are the broad set of cortical regions, collectively known as the posterior hot zone, that gives rise to conscious perception. In clinical sources of causal evidence, stimulating the posterior hot zone can trigger a diversity of distinct sensations and feelings.
  • It appears that almost all conscious experiences have their origin in the posterior cortex. But it does not explain the crucial difference between the posterior regions and much of the prefrontal cortex, which does not directly contribute to subjective content.