The title of the online article “Learning New Words Activates the Same Brain Regions as Sex and Drugs” gives off the pragmatic interpretation that learning new words is rewarding – in a similar manner to sex and drugs – orgasmic or the feeling of ecstasy/high. If you pick up a dictionary now and randomly stop at a word you’ve not heard or seen before, you are not going to have an orgasm or feel high.

If you read the abstract of the original article, the full article is not open-access, it states “Learning the meaning of new words activated the ventral striatum” (Ripolles et al., 2014). The ventral striatum is heavily innervated with dompminergic fibres, and dopamine is one of the chief neurotransmitters associated with positive emotion, reward and the motivational aspects of behaviour. Therefore a more pragmatically appropriate title would be “Learning New Words is Neurobiologically Rewarding”.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s