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Nov 24, 2015 06:33 AM EST

Scientists locate happiness center in brain

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A new study by researchers at Kyoto University in Japan has revealed the location of the brain that is linked to being happy, Times Live reports.  

Waturu Sato, a researcher at Kyoto University in Japan, used MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) to locate the part of the brain that is linked to being happy.

"Over history, many eminent scholars like Aristotle have contemplated what happiness is," study lead author Wataru Sato said in a university news release, according to Healthday.

"I'm very happy that we now know more about what it means to be happy."

The study discovered that the positive emotions and satisfaction derived from life events had an impact on the precuneus, which is part of the parietal lobe.

For the study, the neuroscientists in the research team used MRI to analyze the brains of 51 participants and to measure their subjective happiness as well as the emotions they felt. The researchers evaluated the participants on two parameters, an emotional component and a cognitive one.

Waturu Sato concluded: "Several studies have shown that meditation increases grey matter mass in the precuneus. This new insight on where happiness happens in the brain will be useful for developing happiness programs based on scientific research."

Their findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports of November 20, 2015.

The study indicated that the participants who were the happiest had more grey matter in the precuneus, a region of the parietal lobe in the cerebral cortex, than those who were less happy about their life. The intensity of emotions, both positive and negative, was also felt in this part of the brain.

The study also noted that the precuneus of happy people was bigger in size.

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