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Media Contact: Kathi Baker 21 October 2005    
  (404) 727-0464   Print  | Email ]

Emory Psychiatrist Discusses the Need for Novelty in our Lives
Emory University School of Medicine Psychiatrist Gregory Berns, MD, PhD, will discuss his newly published book, "Satisfaction: The Science of Finding True Fulfillment," in a lecture and book signing on Monday, October 24 at 5 p.m. at Emory's Robert W. Woodruff Library.

Dr. Berns combined his insatiable curiosity about how the human brain works with his training as a neuroscientist to develop a theory about how we are motivated. His book takes us on an introspective journey around the world that looks at the drive that motivates people -- from running a marathon to maintaining novelty in a relationship.

"There were many activities that seemed mysterious to me: the culinary magic of great cooking, Aha! moments of intellectual stimulation, the fascination of self-inflicted pain, the challenge of a crossword puzzle," says Dr. Berns. "The satisfaction of those pursuits appeared to derive from doing something novel and tapped directly into the motivation centers of the brain."

In his laboratory at Emory, Dr. Berns uses functional imaging techniques such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to study how the brain functions during tasks that have a level of uncertainty, novelty, and even decision making. The ability to use this technology has given him a depth of understanding about society that, until now, nobody has been able to begin to understand.

"As soon as I started to write this book, I realized how much more than the communication of scientific knowledge was at stake. Nobody had ever tried to extract a philosophy of life from the rumblings of a bunch of neurons in the brain," says Dr. Berns. "Everything I have encountered inside the research lab and out in the world suggests that satisfaction is not the same as either pleasure or happiness, and searching for happiness will not necessarily lead to satisfaction."

The lecture will take place in the Jones Room on the Third Floor of the Woodruff Library, 540 Asbury Circle on Emory's campus. It will begin with a reception at 5 p.m., and the lecture and book signing will immediately follow.

The event is hosted by the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine and the creative Writing Program at Emory University. It is free and open to the public.

For more information, call 404-727-9371.

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