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Medical Pleasure stimuli

  1. Nov 9, 2005 #1
    I'm trying to compile a list of all the basic physical input which realeases happiness chemicals.

    some of these sound painful in excess and in moderation the happiness felt is 0 but im assuming during deprivation

    expanding of the osophogus
    blood to heart muscles joints brain.
    skin approach 33 degrees celcius.
    oxygen to lungs.
    scratching an itch.
    vibration of voicebox.
    intestines expanded.
    atmospheric pressure on skin and muscles.
    average moisture on skin.
    fat lipids to tounge
    sugar to tounge
    salt to tounge
    temporary brain shutdown.
    touching penishead/clitoris.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 10, 2005 #2


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    Yes, I like that one.

    What does approaching 33 degrees C mean? ~28 is room temperature.
  4. Nov 11, 2005 #3


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    You raise an interesting discussion, what external inputs triggers pleasure chemistry of the brain.. I am no neuroscientist. (However I did work in a psychopharmacology lab for a couple years, that focused research on neurophysiological and anatomical bases of pain perception). I found a well written and researched paper by a student at Bryn Mawr College (PA), that addresses this topic. Several comments below were from her paper.
    Laughter - people who are laughing near you or if you see or hear something that funny, causing you to laugh, triggers brain's pleasure chemistry.
    Touch - triggers pleasure, from a hug or kiss to a full body massage. It is no wonder that the massage business is not lacking for customers.
    Sex - an extension to the touch stimulus, and a more complex psychological activity, certainly has a pleasure stimulus component.
    Exercise - especially of the intense variety, triggers pleasure, feeling of euphoria..

    This last one has a lot in common with several on your list. Physical stresses on the body trigger release of endorphins (body natural pain inhibitor), there is a simultaneous accumulation of dopamine (neurotransmitter). This combination has been described to create the euphoric or happy feeling.

    You mentioned a few food taste inputs: i'll give example with each: candy (sugar), potato chips (both salt and fat lipid), ice cream (both fat lipid and sugar). But there are certainly others, for instance ripe fruits like a peach, watermelon, strawberry, banana. Each of these has sugar but also ?? other complex flavors that stimulate pleasure.

    Another interesting food related one, chile peppers. The capsaicin responsible for intense heat or burning in your mouth. This can also trigger the endorphin/dopamine activity, triggering pleasure.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2005
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