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Old 06-26-2008, 10:13 AM   #150
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Brain scientists discover why adventure feels good

LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists have identified a primitive area of the brain that makes us adventurous -- a finding which may help explain why people routinely fall for "new" products when shopping.

Using brain scans to measure blood flow, British researchers discovered that a brain region known as the ventral striatum was more active when subjects chose unusual objects in controlled tests.

The ventral striatum is involved in processing rewards in the brain through the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine.

Scientists believe the existence of this age-old reward mechanism indicates there is an evolutionary advantage in sampling the unknown.

"Seeking new and unfamiliar experiences is a fundamental behavioral tendency in humans and animals. It makes sense to try new options as they may prove advantageous in the long run," said Bianca Wittmann of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at University College London.
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