Brain: Have researchers found the zone where happiness is?

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A team from the University of Kyoto estimates that a specific part of the brain is more developed than others in happy people.

The pursuit of happiness is a subject that has fascinated human beings since the dawn of time. And this issue has led scientists to ask the question: where, in concrete terms, is happiness in the brain? In a study published by the journal Scientific Reports, a team from Kyoto University in Japan believes they have found the answer. By analyzing MRI scans in a group of volunteers, they identified an area of the brain, the precuneus, that appears to be particularly developed in happy people.

This relatively small part is found in the upper parietal lobe. Although the importance of its role in cognitive functions had been stressed before, it was difficult to find more information due to lack of information. In fact, it is rare for this region of the brain to be affected by trauma or a stroke.

Develop happiness programs

But by using MRIs, researchers have been able to associate precuneus with our ability to step back and see ourselves as a conscious person. Therefore, the Japanese team asked study participants a series of questions to measure how they felt about their emotions, level of happiness and overall satisfaction with life. They then compared this data with images of their brains.

Result: people with a large amount of gray matter in the precuneus area also had a better happiness score as measured by the questionnaire. Researchers say more studies will be needed to learn more about this topic and it is too early to define the precuneus as the area where happiness is found. "Much work has shown that meditation increases the amount of gray matter in the precuneus. These findings may be helpful in developing science-based happiness programs," said lead author Wataru Sato.

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