Pleasure is absolutely central to human behavior. It is one of the key motivators and the reason is because it’s evolutionary ancient. We want behaviors like eating food and drinking water and having sex to be pleasurable, so we will do those things and survive and have offspring and get our genes into the next generation.
So if you look at the pleasure circuitry in the human brain – you can find it in the monkey brain and in the mouse brain in the lizard brain – it’s very ancient and we can even find aspects of this pleasure circuitry in very old animals that don’t have a proper brain at all, like earthworms, for example.
60 Second Reads is recorded in Big Think’s studio.