Interesting and relevant article that shows there is a neurophysiological basis for my inability to stick to New Year’s resolutions (to be published today, December 31, 2008) in the Journal of Neuroscience.
For risk-takers and impulsive people, New Year’s resolutions often include being more careful, spending more frugally and cutting back on dangerous behavior, such as drug use. But new research from Vanderbilt University finds that these individuals–labeled as novelty-seekers by psychologists–face an uphill battle in keeping their New Year’s resolutions due to the way their brains process dopamine.
The researchers used PET scans to view the levels of dopamine receptors in 34 healthy people who had taken a questionnaire measuring the novelty-seeking personality traits. The questionnaire measured traits such as an individual’s preference for novelty, decision-making speed, readiness to freely spend money, and the extent to which a person is spontaneous and unconstrained by rules and regulations. The higher the score, the more likely the person was to be a novelty-seeker.
The research reveals that novelty-seekers have less of a particular type of dopamine receptor, which may lead them to seek out novel and exciting experiences, such as spending lavishly, taking risks and “partying like there’s no tomorrow”, Vanderbilt researchers say.
What this means is that I do not have to feel guilty anymore that I have not made any New Year’s resolutions these past few years.
My will power (or lack thereof) is not at fault. It’s built into my brainStart Slide Show with PicLens Lite