Honestly, I can’t quite wrap my head around this week’s sciku article. The role of dopamine in our external rewards system has been studied extensively, but we also have regular passive spikes of the neurotransmitter cycling trough our brains spontaneously—in mice it’s a spike every minute or so—and we don’t really understand why.
In a study published this week in Current Biology, researchers demonstrated that mice are not only responding to these regular spikes, but are able to alter them. The suggestion is that it might play a role in the foraging process, with a tiny dopamine hit every minute reminding them to stay alert for some greater reward. The chemical process seems to prod us forward, making sure we’re never quite satisfied. I wonder if it might play a role in ADHD?
At least that was my interpretation. The press release doesn’t quite make sense to me, and the study itself was even more impenetrably written. But I think that’s what it means? Maybe I just need a nap.
under my hammock