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Happiness doesn't come in bottles. Neuroscientists learn that joy comes through dancing, not drugs

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Too little has been written about the biology of joy. Most of the articles in the medical literature about brains and emotions are devoted to explaining how we feel fear, anger, anxiety and despair. This is understandable, because we don't go to doctors when we are feeling optimistic, happy and joyful. Most of what we know about the chemistry of our emotions has been learned from the disorders and the treatments of people who are sad and depressed.

But we can't just accept this and say, ‘Why bother?’, because too many of us are seeking to find joy by taking chemicals. We need to ask, ‘What happens inside our brains when we experience happiness? Is there a way to stimulate pleasure in our brains, and what really happens when we do that?’

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Molecular & Cell Biology, LSA 129, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3200, USA.

Publication date: January 1, 1997


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