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Foundation Quiz 2

The reading for this quiz is Habits of a Happy Brain Chapters 4-6 and the Slide Show Guided Neuroplasticity

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Foundation Quiz #2

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Question 1

Why don’t we enjoy happy chemicals all the time?

A
their job is to respond to new information and then return to neutral
B
new experiences are often less intense than the original experience that built the circuit
C
natural selection designed the brain to motivate survival efforts, not to produce happiness
D
all of the above
Question 1 Explanation: 
It’s tempting to believe in effortless bliss, but it’s not the truth of nature. Knowing this frees you from the frustrating belief that others are living in bliss and you’re missing out unless you keep chasing it.
Question 2

“Habituation” is the brain’s capacity to:

A
stop responding to a reward when it becomes familiar.
B
turn off a happy chemical when there’s no new information about the reward.
C
ignore information about old rewards so your attention is available for new rewards.
D
all of the above
Question 2 Explanation: 
Habituation is frustrating, so it's nice to know it has a survival purpose. Knowing the internal source of your disappointment frees you from waste energy blaming external forces.
Question 3

Which of the following thoughts is an example of habituation?

A
“I couldn’t wait to move to a better home, but now I hardly notice it anymore.”
B
“I couldn’t wait to move to a better home, but now I just notice the broken appliances.”
C
“I couldn’t wait to move to a better home, but now I miss the gang at my old place.”
D
“I couldn’t wait to move to a better home, but now my furniture looks shabby there.”
E
all of the above
Question 3 Explanation: 
Once you meet a need, your brain looks for the next best way to meet a need. It focuses on what you don’t have so it’s easy to forget what you do have.
Question 4

Which of the following is an example of dopamine disappointment?

A
Thinking about chocolate excites you but the good feeling stops once you get the chocolate.
B
You’re sure you would be happy forever if only they still made chocolate the way it used to be.
C
Vanilla is your only option because they messed up on the chocolate.
D
all of the above
Question 4 Explanation: 
If chocolate felt rewarding in your past, the dopamine surge built a circuit that turns on the good feeling today when you think of chocolate. [Replace the word “chocolate” with any reward that fits your individual life experience.] Unfortunately, real-world rewards often fall short of expected rewards. You may think something is wrong with the world unless you know how old circuits trigger new dopamine.
Question 5

Endorphin doesn’t last because:

A
some people don’t make enough
B
good things always come to an end
C
we need to feel pain in order to protect ourselves from harm
D
our society disapproves of euphoria
Question 5 Explanation: 
We are not designed to be high on endorphin all the time. It causes oblivion that undermines our ability to meet survival needs. Of course, we like that feeling because it masks our sense of threat; but we need access to our bad feelings in order to make good survival decisions. You cannot meet your survival needs when you mask your responses with endorphin (opiates).
Question 6

Seeking endorphin is dangerous, whether you do it internally by creating pain or externally by taking opiates, because:

A
it undermines your natural happy-chemical responses
B
it masks pain, which leads to dangerous neglect of personal care
C
you habituate, so it takes more and more to create the feeling
D
all of the above
Question 6 Explanation: 
An endorphin surge in your past connected neurons that spark the expectation of a good feeling when you think of repeating the experience. If you do seek a repeat, you don’t end up feeling as good as you expect. But the circuit is still there, so you may keep expecting and seeking to the point of danger until you focus on building a new circuit.
Question 7

Oxytocin droop benefits you for all of the following reasons EXCEPT:

A
It warns you that isolation is dangerous.
B
It motivates you to invest more in social bonds.
C
It motivates you to stay attached to people who hurt you.
D
It helps you make good decisions about who you can trust.
Question 7 Explanation: 
We are social animals. We are not always nice. These two facts are hard to reconcile, and oxytocin helps us when it spurts and when it droops. But old oxytocin circuits can tempt us to tolerate pain instead of forging new connections.
Question 8

Serotonin droops after it spurts, which is why people:

A
feel important all the time.
B
keep looking for ways to feel important.
C
don’t worry about feeling important.
D
are honest about their urge to be important.
E
all of the above
Question 8 Explanation: 
It’s not easy being mammal. This brain we’ve inherited loves the serotonin we feel in a moment of importance, hates the droop when the serotonin passes, and seeks ways to get that sense of social importance back.
Question 9

How can you protect yourself from the bad feeling of serotonin droop?

A
By insisting you don’t care about status.
B
By refusing to seek social advancement.
C
By knowing it’s a mammalian inheritance rather than a true emergency.
D
By securing a permanent position of importance.
E
all of the above
Question 9 Explanation: 
It’s still the same old story; a fight for love and glory. But you can understand how you create the impulse instead of believing the world is doing it to you.
Question 10

When you feel bad, anything that makes you feel better:

A
saved your life, in the view of your mammal brain, which equates bad feelings with urgent threat.
B
connects neurons that trigger positive expectations.
C
is what you will seek the next time you feel bad.
D
all of the above
Question 10 Explanation: 
Something that’s bad for you can seem good if it relieved your sense of threat in the past. Our brain is designed to prioritize threat signals, so whatever relieves a sense of threat makes a huge impression in your jungle of neurons. Consciously you know that eating a cookie doesn’t save you from a lion, but the effortless flow of electricity down an old pathway can make it feel that way.
Question 11

Distraction feels good because:

A
it meets real needs.
B
we distract with healthy behaviors.
C
interrupting a threat circuit makes you feel safer.
D
we are proud of our chosen distractions.
E
all of the above
Question 11 Explanation: 
We humans can activate a sense of threat even when no immediate threat is reaching our sensory receptors. This capacity to anticipate future problems empowers us to solve them, but it also leaves us with an endless sense of threat. When threat signals are created by your own thoughts, shifting your thoughts can help you relieve them.
Question 12

You can stop a vicious circle if you:

A
do nothing instead of doing the “happy habit” that comes naturally to you.
B
live with the threatened feeling for a minute, to teach your brain that it will not kill you.
C
choose a healthy behavior to focus on when you feel threatened, and repeat it for 45 days without fail whether it feels good or not.
D
all of the above
Question 12 Explanation: 
The effortless flow of electricity down an old established pathway is what we experience as “right” and “true,” but the ability to inhibit that flow and reroute our electricity is what makes us human.
Question 13

 Old circuits are powerful because:

A
they conduct electricity effortlessly.
B
they are built in childhood when you have more access to authentic truth.
C
old knowledge is more reliable.
D
they remind you of the good times.
Question 13 Explanation: 
Old circuits are powerful even when they remind you of bad times. But they are not necessarily reliable because they are built from the limited experience of youth. They feel true because electricity flows through them so effortlessly. It sounds nice to think children are born wise, but in fact children are born needy but with no capacity to meet their needs. Early circuits are the foundation of our survival skills but we can build on that foundation with effort.
Question 14

Myelin coats neurons, which make them super-efficient conductors of electricity. Why does this matter?

A
The myelin coating wears out over time.
B
Your myelinated circuits feel right even when they’re wrong because the effortless flow of electricity is how we “know” what feels “right.”
C
Good judgment doesn’t come until your twenties because that’s when your myelin comes.
D
Some people have more myelin than others.
E
all of the above
Question 14 Explanation: 
No one is consciously aware of their myelinated circuits, but we all know the difference between what comes easily and what comes only with great effort. Our brain is designed to avoid that effort when possible because it reduces the bandwidth we have left to seek rewards and avoid harm. That’s why myelinated circuits evolved, and why they tempt us without our knowing it.
Question 15

Which of the following is NOT true about early experience shaping the brain?

A
Neurons that are not activated in youth get pruned, which increases your reliance on the neural pathways activated by your individual past experience.
B
Mammals with more neurons have a longer childhood because neurons gain value from the connections built by experience.
C
The human brain is good at deleting circuits built from past rewards and pain when necessary.
D
Early experience builds new synapses and strengthens the connections between synapses.
Question 15 Explanation: 
Alas, we are not designed to delete old circuits. That doesn’t mean we are doomed to keep repeating old behaviors because can strengthen new circuits. Most important, we can build new the connectors between old experience and new behaviors. It’s like building a new on-ramp that makes it easy for your electricity to flow to your new behavior, even though the old circuit is still there.
Question 16

You can build a new serotonin circuit if you spend 45 days repeating a behavior that:

A
builds trust, even in a small way
B
approaches a goal, even in a small way
C
makes you feel important, even in a small way
D
rejects status, even in a small way
Question 16 Explanation: 
Trust and goals are good, but they trigger different happy chemicals. Self-importance may seem bad when you see it others, but it’s essential to know that your bad reaction is fueled by your own urge for social importance. Deny this urge and you risk investing your energy in resentment instead of in feeling good. Resentment can feel good in the short run as you enjoy a sense of moral superiority. But in the long run, you have to put others down in order to feel good - exactly the behavior that irks you when your fellow mammal does it.
Question 17

New steps are easier to take when you know that:

A
neurons find it hard to activate neighboring neurons if they haven’t done it before.
B
repetition builds synapses, so they fire more easily over time.
C
new neural pathways feel unsafe because they aren’t yet connected to your lifetime knowledge of rewards and pain.
D
all of the above
Question 17 Explanation: 
It’s hard to repeat a behavior that feels bad, and it’s hard to believe it will feel good later if it feels bad now. That’s why it’s so useful to know how your brain works. Your old pathways are not there because they pass the test of rationality. They’re there because strong emotions of pleasure and pain build strong connections between neurons, and your brain re-uses those pathways because they’re there.
Question 18

Current theories about happiness are built on all of these beliefs EXCEPT:

A
nature is good, so our society must be the cause of all bad.
B
happy chemicals flow effortlessly so unhappiness is evidence that something went wrong.
C
the animal origin of our brain chemistry explains much of the frustration of modern life.
D
your happy chemicals should flow whether or not you are meeting survival needs.
Question 18 Explanation: 
Humans lived alongside animals for thousands of years, and observed their unpleasant behaviors as well as their pleasant ones. Today, animals are idealized, and we are told to blame “our society” for all of our frustrations. This ignores the neurochemical operating system we’ve inherited from millions of years of natural selection.
Question 19

A droop in happy chemicals is nature’s reset button. That means:

A
we must never let our happy chemicals droop because we wouldn’t survive it.
B
frustration is unnatural but we can reset to our natural happiness.
C
a droop is a neutral position that prepares you to respond to the potential rewards and pain in your surroundings.
D
unhappiness is caused by the people who push your buttons.
E
all of the above
Question 19 Explanation: 
Hooray for the neutral position. It’s only a problem if you’re wired to see it that way. Most of us are because the human brain looks for potential future threats as soon as it’s safe from immediate threats. We learn to banish that threatened feeling by rushing to stimulate a good feeling. We can build our power over that threatened feeling instead of rushing to mask it. Then we are free to have new responses to new inputs instead of rushing into old responses.
Question 20

Happy chemicals lead to frustration in all of the following ways EXCEPT:

A
Dopamine habituates to old rewards, so you have to keep finding new rewards to enjoy it.
B
Oxytocin makes you feel good when you’re with the herd, but that makes it hard to distance from the herd when you long for greener pastures.
C
Serotonin gives you a great feeling when you gain a social advantage, but when you lack a social advantage, the droop gives you the sense that our survival is threatened.
D
Endorphin masks pain with euphoria for a few minutes, but you feel the pain when the spurt is over.
E
Your happy chemicals must be perfectly balanced at all times or else you feel frustrated.
Question 20 Explanation: 
There is no correct level of these chemicals. The concept of “balance” is appealing because it sounds scientific and non-judgmental, but it creates the illusion that human emotions can be fixed the way a car can be fixed.
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