VEDANTAM: So that’s right. If you buy the idea that all behavior stems from the brain, Rachel, this prick of conscience that we often experience obviously has something to do with what’s happening in the brain. Some months ago, Neil Garrett, Stephanie Lazzaro, Dan Ariely, and Tali Sharot conducted a very interesting study. I talked to Dan Ariely. He studies economics and psychology at Duke University. And he said that the premise of the study was actually a very old idea.
DAN ARIELY: The brain is really a mechanism for detecting surprising things, right? The brain is basically working on adaptation. You get to a certain level of flight. In the beginning it’s surprising, and then you get used to that environment.
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