Rewards and Age

If opening presents seems less exciting at age 60 than it did at age 10, the explanation may lie in the brain.

A study has found that as people age, their brains respond less strongly to rewards. The main difference is in the response of the brain to dopamine, a naturally occurring chemical messenger that plays a central role in the reward system.

This might  be behind the shifts in attitude that accompany aging. And may explain why people are mellower. Researchers say they may not get the same highs from certain experiences, but they may not get the same lows, either.”

Researchers performed brain scans on two groups of volunteers, one in their 60s and the other in their 20s, as they played a computer game resembling a slot machine.
When a reward was anticipated, the researchers said, three parts of a reward center in the brain lighted up in the younger group, but only one in the older group.

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