Happiness fact 62: dopamine, the chemistry of happiness

The prefrontal cortex is awash in many neurotransmitters, including dopamine, serotonin, glutamate, GABA and more. Davidson believes dopamine may be especially important. Animal studies have shown that dopamine mediates the transfer of signals associated with positive emotions between the left prefrontal area and the emotional centers in the limbic area of the brain, such as the nucleus accumbens, situated within the ventral striatum. In humans, people with a sensitive version of the receptor that accepts dopamine tend to have better moods, and researchers are actively studying the relationship of dopamine levels to feelings of euphoria and depression.

Source: Health: The Biology of Joy. Scientists know plenty about depression. Now they are starting to understand the roots of positive emotion by Michael D. Lemonick Sunday, Jan. 09, 2005 The Time

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