Scientists Use MRI Scans To Locate Happiness

First Posted: Nov 22, 2015 09:27 PM EST

Where does happiness come from? It looks like it starts in the brain, according to researchers at Kyoto University. 

This region of the brain in the medial parietal lobe--otherwise known as the precuneus--becomes active during consciousness and as we experience happy emotions and life satisfaction.

Researchers studied participants' brains to further examine neurological happiness. They took MRI's of their brains and then asked participants to take a survey on how they are generally, how intensely they feel emotions and how satisfied they are with their lives in general.

The study findings revealed that those who scored higher in the happiness surveys had more grey matter mass in the precuneus. 

"Over history, many eminent scholars like Aristotle have contemplated what happiness is," lead study author Wataru Sato, said in a news release. "I'm very happy that we now know more about what it means to be happy."

But how exactly might this help someone? 

"Several studies have shown that meditation increases grey matter mass in the precuneus. This new insight on where happiness happens in the brain will be useful for developing happiness programs based on scientific research," he said.

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