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Romeo and Juliet Brain Relativity

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Vaishnavi Mahajan

on 14 May 2015

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Transcript of Romeo and Juliet Brain Relativity

Vaishnavi Mahajan
Wyatt Kurumiya
James Hurrell
Nate Rose

Chemicals to keep in mind:

D1/D2 Dopamine Receptor:
Grey Matter:
Main Question: Why does Juliet take the vial from Friar Lawrence, ignoring all risks?
Scientists consider the adolescent brain to be between the age of 13-25.
In the play Juliet is 13, meaning she is at the beginning stages of the brain's development
Teens overestimate risks
Teens overestimate risk, meaning they estimate the risk potential as much greater than it actually is.
When teens were asked what they thought the risk of getting AIDS was they said about 60%.
In reality the risk is rather miniscule for most Americans (Salavitz).

Emotions take over
D2 Dopamine Receptor Definition:
Suppresses effects of Dopamine (Scicurious)
"Even in their mid-teens, adolescents can make quick, efficient, correct decisions; in the heat of the moment, though, the brains deep emotional centers will win out over reason" (Landau).
D1 Dopamine Receptor Definition:
Enhances effects of dopamine (Groman and Jentsch).
How Do the Effects of the Dopamine Receptors Relate to Juliet?
Juliet willingly drinks the potion despite the fact that "the mixture [may] not work at [all]" (IV. iii. 21).
Juliet may have low level of D2 Dopamine Receptors
increases vulnerability to Dopamine, thus making her more addictive and impulsive (Groman and Jentsch).
Definition: A neurotransmitter that is released as part of the brain's reward system
Dopamine is a key part of drug addiction because most 'abused' drugs cause dopamine to be released into the brain, in part, dopamine causes drug addictiveness (Newton)
Definition: A chemical that gets released into the brain during human interaction causing individuals to bond to one another
Commonly known as "'The Love Hormone' [because] bodies release high concentrations during positive social interactions such as falling in love" (Citation Here).
Explains why Romeo and Juliet felt as though they could not live without each other:
Most likely they had extremely high amount of oxytocin when they met, causing unusual bonding
Works Cited
Nate's Works Cited And Consulted
Ackerman, Diane. "The Brain on Love." Opinionator The Brain on Love Comments. N.p.,
n.d. Web. 20 May 2014. <http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/24/the-brain-
"Your Brain in Love." Brain Training Software, Brain Fitness, Brain Games, BrainHQ.
N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2014. <http://www.brainhq.com/brain-resources/brain-facts-
Major component of the central nervous system
Contains neural cell bodies and contains mostly myelinated axon tracts
Routes sensory/motor stimulus to inter neurons of the CNS to create a response to the stimulus through chemical synapse activity
Grey matter structures process information that originate in sensory organs or in other grey matter regions
D2 Dopamine receptor is found mostly in the Basal Ganglia (Dority).
The Basal Ganglia is a mass of “cerebral gray matter buried deep in the white matter, lateral to the thalamus[,]… [and] involved in motor control” (Saladin).
People with low level of D2 Receptors
Get easily addicted (scicurious)
Connecting Love With the Basal Ganglia
When in love, the ventral tegmental area (VTA) becomes active.
The VTA is associated with "wanting, with motivation, and with craving. In fact, the same region becomes active when you feel the rush of cocaine" (Fisher)
Cocaine = drug known to increase levels of dopamine in brain.
The basal ganglia "receives dopamine-secreting terminal buttons from neurons of the VTA" ("The Brain").
Wyatt's Work Cited
“The Brain.” n.p. n.d. Web. 26 May 2014. http://www.macalester.edu/academics/
Fisher, Helen. “The Brain in Love.” Online video clip. TED. TED Conferences,
LLC, Feb. 2008. Web. 26. May 2014.
Dority, Jason. “5 Types of Dopamine Receptors.” Livestrong.com. Demand Media
Inc., 6 Jun. 2014. Web. 26 May 2014.
Groman, Stephanie M., and J. David Jentsch. “Cognitive Control and the
Dopamine D2-Like Receptor: A Dimensional Understanding of Addiction.” Depression and Anxiety 29 1 Apr. 2012: 295-306. Psychology and Behavioural Sciences Collection. Web. 18 May. 2014.
Saladin, Kenneth S. Anatomy & Physiology: The Unity of Form and Function. 6th ed. Boston:
The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc., 2012. Print.
scicurious. “The Opposite Side of Dopamine: The D2 Receptor.” Neurotic
Physiology. Neurotic Physiology, 13 Jul. 2011. Web. 18 May. 2014.

Wyatt's Work Cited and Consulted
Aragona B.J. “Addicted to Love.” Nature Reviews: Neuroscience
Volume 7 Feb. 2006: 1. Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection. Web. 12 May 2014.
Cacioppo, Stephanie and John T. Cacioppo. “Lust for Life.”
Scientific American Mind Vol.24 Issue 5 Nov/Dec. 2013: 57-60. Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection. Web. 12 May 2014.
Goldstein, Rita Z., and Nora D. Volkow. “Dysfunction of the
prefrontal cortex in addiction: neuroimaging findings and clinical implications.” Nature Reviews: Neuroscience Volume 12 Nov. 2011: 652-70. ProQuest. Web. 12 May 2014.
Parker-Pope, Tara. “Love and Pain Relief.” New York Times. New York Times Company, 13 Oct. 2010. Web. 23 Apr. 2014.
Wolner, Marty. “Teenagers - Inside the Teenage Brain.” ezinearticles. SparkNET, 17 Jun. 2008. Web. 30 May 2014.
""Oxytocin Hormone Affects Men and Women Differently, Research Finds." Oxytocin
Hormone Affects Men and Women Differently, Research Finds. N.p., n.d. Web. 21
May 2014. <http://www.news-medical.net/news/20130801/Oxytocin-hormone-affects-
"Your Brain in Love." Brain Training Software, Brain Fitness, Brain Games, BrainHQ.
N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2014. <http://www.brainhq.com/brain-resources/brain-facts-
Boyles, Salynn. "Romantic Love Affects Your Brain Like a Drug." WebMD. WebMD, n.d.
Web. 20 May 2014. <http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/news/20101013/
Teens are reward seeking
This leads them to seek pleasure inducing activities and substances, like drugs and alcohol in order to cause a release of dopamine
Drugs and alcohol are obvious addictive substances, but it has been found that romantic love is an addiction because seeing partner causes a release of dopamine
"Teenagers are extra sensitive to the rewarding feelings they get when something happens that's better than expected" (DNews).
Adolescents are sensitive to unexpected outcomes so when something happens in a good way that is unexpected:
= much more rewarding for them compared to a child or adult
E.g.: If adolescents have a choice between staying out late or going home, the social reward they receive outweighs the trouble they know they will get into.
The Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA).
In the VTA, neurons send dopamine to different parts of the brain and signals --> are sent to the nucleus accumbens = reduced fear allowing an individual to engage in risky activities.
During the course of Act IV Scene iii, when Juliet drinks the potion given to her by Friar Lawrence, the chemicals secreted by the love-stricken Juliet affects the functions of various regions of her brain, causing her to take risky, irrational actions.
Love's Chemical Effects on Juliet's Brain
Myelination and the Prefronatal Cortex
Vaishnavi's Work Cited
Myelination: the process that takes place in pruning unneeded synapses in the brain
Prefrontal Cortex: the area of the brain involved with logical thinking and decision making
Self-stimulation and risky activities
"The brain cannot immediately distinguish between good rewards and bad rewards as it only registers the pleasure of the feelings" (Saylor).
You can self-stimulate yourself with dopamine on a natural high and so you could send out dopamine signals and even if you were doing something risky and unsafe,
and your brain will let you do this because it only sees the good rewards that you can receive from it.
Motivation in the VTA
"Neurons in the VTA send dopamine to many different parts of the brain, but the researchers found that dopamine signals sent to the nucleus accumbens, known to play a role in motivation, pleasure, fear, and addiction"
This makes sense because with proper
you can eliminate
and then you can receive
for what you accomplished.
Romantic love is an addiction
'Romantic love is an addiction...It's a very powerfully wonderful addiction when things are going well and a perfectly horrible addiction when things are going poorly' (Rettner).
Seeing a romantic partner stimulated the VTA and is also very active in people who are madly in love
This would explain why Juliet would do anything to be with Romeo because she was addicted to him, he was her drug
Robbins, T.W. “Review Chemical neuromodulation of frontal executive functions in humans and other animals.” Springer-Verlag 2000. n. pag. Web. 14 May 2014. <http://www.leidenuniv.nl/fsw/sppef/meetings/P2summerschool/literature/Robbins2000.pdf/>.
Chamberlin, Linda Burgess. “The Amazing Adolescent Brain: What Every Educator, Youth Serving Professional and Healthcare Provider Needs to Know.”
“Grey Matter - What is Grey Matter?” News Medical. n.p., 1 Feb. 2011. Web. 19 May 2014. <http://www.news-medical.net/health/Grey-Matter-What-is-Grey-Matter.aspx/>.
Fraser-Thill, Rebecca. “Definition of Myelination What Myelination Means.” About.com Tweens. About.com, 26 August 2010. Web. 19 May 2014. <http://tweenparenting.about.com/od/physicalemotionalgrowth/a/Definition-of-Myelination.htm/>.

Works Conslulted
Parker-Pope, Tara. “Love and Pain Relief.” New York Times. New York Times Company, 13 Oct. 2010. Web. 23 Apr. 2014. <http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/13/love-and-pain-relief/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0/>.
Wolner, Marty. “Teenagers - Inside the Teenage Brain.” ezinearticles. SparkNET, 17 Jun. 2008. Web. 30 May 2014.

James' Works Cited and Consulted
"Teen Brain Wired to Take Risks : DNews." DNews. Discovery Communications, 11 Feb. 2013. Web. 19 May 2014. <http://news.discovery.com/human/teenager-brain-risky-behavior.htm>.
Szalavitz, Maia, and Maia Szalavitz. "Why the Teen Brain Is Drawn to Risk | TIME.com." Time. Time, 2 Oct. 2012. Web. 19 May 2014. <http://healthland.time.com/2012/10/02/why-the-teen-brain-is-drawn-to-risk/>.
Landau, Elizabeth. "Why Teens Are Wired for Risk." CNN. Cable News Network, 19 Oct. 2011. Web. 19 May 2014. <http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/19/health/mental-health/teen-brain-impulses/>.
Saylor, Donn, and John Allen. "What Is the Ventral Tegmental Area?" WiseGeek. Conjecture, 06 May 2014. Web. 19 May 2014. <http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-ventral-tegmental-area.htm>.
Yun, Irene A. "The Ventral Tegmental Area Is Required for the Behavioral and Nucleus Accumbens Neuronal Firing Responses to Incentive Cues." The Journal of Neuroscience. 24 Mar. 2004. Web. 19 May 2014. <http://www.jneurosci.org/content/24/12/2923.full.pdf>
Stamatakis, Alice M. "A Unique Population of Ventral Tegmental Area Neurons Inhibits the Lateral Habenula to Promote Reward." Cell Press. Elsevier Inc., 2014. Web. 19 May 2014. <http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cell.com%2Fneuron%2Ffulltext%2FS0896-6273(13)00757-5>.
Trafton, Anne. "Depression Eraser." MIT Technology Review. MIT News Magazine, 20 Feb. 2013. Web. 19 May 2014. <http://www.technologyreview.com/article/510761/depression-eraser/>.
Saladin, Kenneth S. Anatomy & Physiology: The Unity of Form and Function. 6th ed. Boston: The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc., 2012. Print.
Rettner, Rachael. "'Romantic Love Is an Addiction,' Researchers Say."LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 06 July 2010. Web. 19 May 2014. <http://www.livescience.com/6695-romantic-love-addiction-researchers.html>.
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