The Neuroscience of Cool
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Steven Quartz and Anette Asp, neuroscience researchers at the California Institute of Technology, have run fMRI studies on the brains of people looking at items that a separate group identified as “cool” or “uncool.” Just viewing these objects activated a part of the subjects’ brains called the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC). It’s involved in social emotions, such as pride and embarrassment, that center on how we perceive ourselves and believe others perceive us, and it has strong ties to the brain’s reward and disgust circuits.
Both Quartz and Asp are cool names.
They really are. :)