The Neurological Lure of the Unknown
Abstract- Knutson & Cooper
Using event-related fMRI, Bunzeck and Du¨ zel show that midbrain regions putatively housing dopamine cell bodies activate more for novel pictures than for negative pictures, pictures requiring a motor response, or repeated pictures. These findings indicate that midbrain regions preferentially respond to novelty and suggest that novelty can serve as its own reward.
Exploration is not limited to physical frontiers and foreign lands. Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton could likely identify with the excitement of peering for the first time into previously unknown worlds. By beginning to trace links between novelty, reward, and memory, Bunzeck and Du¨ zel have given us a good start toward understanding the motivation that drives explorers and scientists alike.