MRI shows structural neural substrate of happiness

Kyoto University’s Wataru Sato has used MRI to understand where happiness happens in the brain. However, the neural mechanism behind how happiness emerges remains unclear.

Sato’s recent paper shows that the  precuneus, which also becomes active when experiencing consciousness, mediates subjective happiness by integrating its emotional and cognitive components.

Participants had MRI brain scans and completed a survey that asked how happy they are generally, how intensely they feel emotions, and how satisfied they are with their lives.  Those who scored higher on the happiness surveys had more grey matter mass in the precuneus.

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