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Gambling, drug addiction and mind-enhancers sound more like the elements of a blockbuster film than a night in the pub with our Hacking the Brain speakers. Each will have you riveted as they reveal mysterious links between the brain and behaviour.
We are not all equally vulnerable to psychiatric disorders, especially those that pertain to the cluster of impulsive compulsive disorders, such as drug addiction or Obsessive Compulsive disorder. Why is this the case that some can drink their favourite whisky for fifty years, maintaining control over their pleasure when other will eventually develop alcohol addiction? We now better understand how drugs, in vulnerable individuals, can hijack basic brain mechanisms; such as learning and decision making, and how these vulnerable individuals eventually develop an addiction.
Have you ever pondered the interaction between alcohol intoxication and gambling? Alcohol has been found to influence betting behaviour and prompt the belief that after 3 reds, the next outcome is likely to be black. This is known as Gambler's Fallacy in roulette. But how? Details will be provided on the night. Further discussion around other gambling distortions will also be encouraged.
Some drugs are smarter than others
Amongst all drugs that change brain function, those that boost cognitive abilities such as concentration and memory, are unique relative to their potential impact on society. The recent surge in the use of smart drugs raises many questions. Are they safe? Should all people be encouraged to take them, or only certain professionals? This talk will explain how smart drugs work in the brain. I will also discuss their potential in helping people with depression.