Mirror of Zen Blog

The Neurochemistry of Karma

Stage 1. As we repeat a behavior, a feedback loop between the sensorimotor cortex and the striatum becomes strongly engaged, which helps us stamp routines into a single unit, or chunk, of brain activity. The chunk partly relies on “dopamine input” from the midbrain.

Stage 2. New behavior explored: The prefrontal cortex communicates with the striatum, and the striatum communicates with the midbrain, where “dopamine” aids learning and assigns value to goals.

Stage 3. Habit imprinted and permitted.
Aided by “dopamine”, the infralimbic cortex also seems to control when to allow us to engage in a habit; shutting down this region can suppress deeply ingrained routines.

Text/image: @ejustin46

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