What is happiness and how can we define it? Is it quantifiable? This was a question for philosophers and men on letter to answer. But, it would seem that Medicine was the first field of study that actually managed to define happiness. As the doctors would put it, happiness has a happy place in the brain, and that happy place is named the precuneus.
The precuneus is a cerebral formation in the superior forward lobe. The formation is named precuneus, because it is basically situated before the occipital love, also referred to as the cuneus. More specifically, the precuneus formation is lodged in the medial longitudinal fissures, the area that delimits the two hemispheres.
Sometimes the precuneus is very hard to study to its location. But, its recluseness also works to its advantage. Due to its inaccessibility, trauma resulting from brain strokes or gunshot wounds rarely affect this region of the brain.
The precuneus, although insignificant as it may seem due to the fact that it leaves like a hermit, plays an important role in the brain’s functionality. According to recent research, it would seem that this particular area of the brain is responsible for self-consciousness. Self-awareness is also a capacity deriving from this remote brain area. Moreover, the precuneus, or the happy place, is involved tasks related to short and long term memory and spatial movement.
And so, we come to our initial study that reveals to us a most interesting fact. Happiness has its happy place in the brain, and the precuneus is the main culprit. Brief MRI scans performed on patients revealed that the area in the brain becomes more active when we are put to assess our level of happiness. Actually, when we thinks happy thoughts or receive compliments, this little remote area lights up like a Christmas tree.
But even more entertaining is the fact that we now have a tool than can help us quantify a complex emotion like happiness. According to the study, people who said that they are very happy, have a greater concentration of grey cells in this particular area, than people who said that they are not.
The experiment was conducted by a research team from the Kyoto University. One of the team members said that the precuneus could actually be trained to amass more grey cells. He said that people who indulge themselves in self-reflection activity such as guided meditation, can actually boost the capacity of this area.