Inner Mammal Training free sample quiz

Free membership in the Inner Mammal Institute when you score 70%.

Be sure to click "Get Results" at the bottom of the quiz to submit your answers.

To prepare for this quiz:

– read this short free sample of Habits of a Happy Brain
– read the infographic series You Have Power Over Your Brain 
– watch the video Your Ups and Downs Are Natural (3 parts + worksheets)


The fun feature of this quiz is the "hint" that appears if you choose a wrong answer. You can take the quiz as many times as you'd like, so enjoy the hints the first time through if you wish. To save your work for later completion, click "Get Results" at the bottom and then select "Save and Continue Later" below the Submit button. Don't forget to click "Get Results" at the bottom to submit your answers and get your Inner Mammal Institute Membership Certificate. Then move on to the Foundation Level Quizzes and then the Advanced Training. You can become a Certified Inner Mammal Trainer and earn 3 CEUs.

 

Meet Your Happy Chemicals

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Question 1

The feeling of happiness comes from:

A
dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphin
B
doing the right thing
Hint:
Nice thought, but feelings are more complicated than polite platitudes.
C
a good society
Hint:
Society cannot reach into your brain and turn on your happy chemicals.
D
good genes
Hint:
This research is very preliminary and highly skewed by research protocols. If you expect your genes to turn on your happy chemicals, you don't do what it takes.
Question 1 Explanation: 
These chemicals make you feel good in four different ways.
Question 2

The happy brain chemicals make you feel good:

A
all the time.
Hint:
That would be nice but unfortunately that is not the brain we've inherited from our ancestors.
B
when you do something that promotes the survival of your genes.
C
when you make healthy choices.
Hint:
Unfortunately not. You can rewire yourself to feel good about things that are good for you, but our quirky brain does not do that naturally.
D
when you make virtuous choices.
Hint:
Notice how you define virtue in a way that just happens to turn on your happy chemicals. Everybody does it!
Question 2 Explanation: 
You are not consciously interested in spreading your genes, but we've inherited our brains from individuals who did what it took to keep their genes alive. Brains that rewarded survival behavior with a good feeling were more likely to survive. Managing such a brain is the challenge that comes with the gift of life.
Question 3

Your happy and unhappy chemicals are controlled by:

A
your diet.
Hint:
Diet fads make it seem that way, but humans with widely different diets end up with the same basic neurochemical impulses.
B
brain structures inherited from earlier mammals, including the amygdala, hippocampus, hypothalamus, pituitary, etc.
C
health-care providers.
Hint:
Internal thoughts and actions have more power over your brain chemistry than externals.
D
your prefrontal cortex.
Hint:
It sounds nice, but the PFC does not control your neurochemistry.
Question 3 Explanation: 
This core mammalian operating system motivates a body to go toward things that felt good before and avoid things that felt bad before.
Question 4

Your verbal inner dialogue:

A
tells you why a happy or unhappy feeling is being released.
Hint:
Unfortunately not, because our neurochemical operating system is not capable of processing language.
B
decides when to turn your happy and unhappy chemicals on and off.
Hint:
Life would be easy if our verbal commands could control our neurochemistry, but our verbal brain evolved long after our feeling brain.
C
is all in your cortex, which is not on speaking terms with your mammal brain.
D
is meaningless and should be ignored.
Hint:
Don't give up on your verbal brain; it's not omnipotent, but it has the power to re-direct your mammalian impulses with practice.
Question 4 Explanation: 
Your cortex doesn't have insider information about your mammalian impulses. It has to learn about them by observing. Fortunately, with practice we can understand our feelings fast enough to manage our response to them!
Question 5

You turn on your happy chemicals with:

A
circuits inherited from reptiles.
Hint:
So you like catching bugs with your tongue?
B
tapes installed by your parents.
Hint:
It may feel like that, but it helps to know the inside story.
C
cultural programming.
Hint:
My teachers said this, but it's just a small part of the big picture.
D
neural circuits built from your unique individual past experience with that happy chemical.
Question 5 Explanation: 
This is why our feelings and survival strategies are different, but have so much in common.
Question 6

Your dopamine turns on when you:

A
take dope
Hint:
not
B
put your feet up and relax
Hint:
Remember: your brain rewards you for meeting survival needs.
C
feel pride in your accomplishment
Hint:
Ooops, you're thinking of a different chemical; dopamine is the good feeling of getting a step closer to that accomplishment.
D
approach something you expect to meet your needs
Question 6 Explanation: 
The excitement of dopamine turns on when you see yourself getting closer to something that met your needs before. Whether that's a raise, a cookie, the finish line in a marathon, the smile of a special someone, or the conquest of a distant galaxy, your brain rewards you with a squirt of dopamine when you get a step closer.
Question 7

Your endorphin turns on when you:

A
think happy thoughts
Hint:
That would be nice, but it's not how our brain works.
B
get injured to the point of pain
C
take a vacation from stress
Hint:
More wishful thinking. Endorphin has a job to do.
D
live in a tropical paradise
Hint:
If everyone believes this, it doesn't make it true.
Question 7 Explanation: 
Endorphin masks pain with an oblivious feeling that humans perceive as ecstatic. Endorphin gives an injured animal time to take survival action, but the good feeling soon passes because pain is an important survival signal. No animal could survive if it were high on endorphin all the time - it's meant for emergencies.
Question 8

Your serotonin turns on when you:

A
feel special
B
volunteer in a soup kitchen
Hint:
If that makes you feel special, then it stimulates your serotonin.
C
drink kale smoothies
Hint:
If that makes you feel special, then it stimulates your serotonin.
D
put others first
Hint:
If this makes you feel morally superior, then it stimulates your serotonin.
Question 8 Explanation: 
You may deny your natural mammalian urge to be special, but you can easily see it in others. We must learn to manage our urge for social importance in order to meet our oxytocin (belonging) needs, but you can manage it better when you're honest with yourself. Gaining a social advantage helped animals spread their genes, and natural selection built a brain that rewards you with a good feeling when you gain a social advantage. Moral superiority is a popular modern human way to get it.
Question 9

Your oxytocin turns on when you:

A
distance yourself from people who annoy you
Hint:
That has its place, but it doesn't stimulate oxytocin.
B
find greener pasture
Hint:
That stimulates dopamine, but often hurts your oxytocin.
C
enjoy the safety of social support
D
find a place where you can be yourself
Hint:
That has value, but you lose oxytocin when you distance yourself from others.
Question 9 Explanation: 
Safety in numbers helps mammals survive, so the mammal brain rewards you with a good feeling when you find it. Big-brained mammals build individual alliances as well as group bonds. When you leave the herd, your oxytocin falls and your inner mammal feels threatened - even if the herd gets on your nerves. It's a dilemma that comes with the gift of life.
Question 10

Your cortisol turns on when you:

A
visit your inlaws
Hint:
Only if you wired yourself to associate them with pain.
B
see your boss coming
Hint:
Only if you wired yourself to anticipate pain in that context.
C
watch the news
Hint:
Because it triggers the anticipation of pain.
D
experience pain, or the anticipation of pain
Question 10 Explanation: 
The brain learns from pain, both physical pain (such as hunger or cold) and social pain (such as isolation or rejection). Anything that turned on your cortisol in your past built huge pathways to alert you in the future. A small brain anticipates pain when immediate signals are present, but a big pain can internally activate its own signals to anticipate distant future pain from the tiniest signals.
Question 11

You were born with billions of neurons:

A
but you may be too lazy to use them.
Hint:
Don't believe this. Your brain is working hard to promote survival with the circuits you have built. You didn't build them consciously, so it's hard to know how to build new ones.
B
but they are not connected to each other until activated by experience.
C
connected into circuits inherited from monkeys.
Hint:
No, we are not born with circuits, and monkeys are not either for the most part. Circuits get built from experience.
D
and you keep adding billions throughout life.
Hint:
Actually, you lose more neurons than you gain. A young brain actually "prunes" itself, getting rid of unused pathways to make room for the ones you use. You can always develop new pathways, but it doesn't happen effortlessly the way it did when you were young.
Question 11 Explanation: 
Neurons do not connect literally, but they develop in ways that let electricity flow easily to a neighboring neuron.
Question 12

Your brain builds neural circuits in 2 ways:

A
male hormones and female hormones
Hint:
Nope, we're the same at this deep level.
B
exercise and nutrition
Hint:
Sounds nice, but are only small factors in a big process.
C
happiness and sadness
Hint:
This is only one way: emotion
D
repetition and emotion
Question 12 Explanation: 
Repetition bridges neurons gradually, while emotion bridges neurons instantly. Anything you experience repeatedly or emotionally develops neural pathways so that electricity flows easily. This makes it easier to seek reward or avoid threats that you have already experienced.
Question 13

Your neural superhighways are formed by your experiences before age 8 and during puberty because that's when: 

A
you try harder
Hint:
Intentional trying is not what built your core neural network. We mammals are designed to wire our brains from early experience instead of being hard-wired with the experience of our ancestors like reptiles.
B
the brain produces a lot of myelin, which coats neurons so they become super efficient at channeling electricity
C
you are nurtured
Hint:
Nurturing is nice, but it takes a special chemical to pave the highways in your brain.
D
people tell you what to do
Hint:
Experience matters, but a special chemical builds that experience into superhighways.
Question 13 Explanation: 
Myelin is like paving that turns a dirt road into a fast highway. The experience of your myelin years built the major circuits that channel your electricity today.
Question 14

Your brain is always looking for ways to feel good because:

A
it evolved to promote survival, and in the world of scarcity that our brain evolved in, good feelings were a good guide to survival
B
you're messed up
Hint:
You're a mammal, like the rest of us.
C
you're enlightend
Hint:
Good feelings in the short-run are not an enlightened guide to well-being in the long-run.
D
of advertising
Hint:
Blaming your impulses on "the system" is popular, but you lose your power over your brain when you do that.
Question 14 Explanation: 
Our ancestors survived because they constantly purused things that felt good, in a world where such rewards were quite scarce.
Question 15

Something that turned on your happy chemicals when you were young gets your attention because:

A
the electricity in your brain flows like water in a storm, finding the paths of least resistance
B
you're just a big kid
Hint:
Every one of us is wired by early experience.
C
you failed to mature
Hint:
Maturity adds new circuits but your old happy-chemical superhighways are always there.
D
you're a spoiled brat
Hint:
You may be, but that's not what turns on the happy chemicals.
Question 15 Explanation: 
When a new experience fits a pattern of your past, electricity flows and we experience this as "I know what's going on here."
Question 16

If the brain is focused on survival, why do people do things that are bad for their survival?

A
Impulses that helped our ancestors survive for millions of years do not always lead to well-being today.
Hint:
True, but there's more!
B
Behaviors that worked in adolescence get myelinated, so your electricity flows there even if those behaviors don't work today.
Hint:
Absolutely, but wait, there's more!
C
Habituation reduces the reward we get from old pleasures, so we keep trying and overdo it.
Hint:
Absolutely, but it's only part of the story.
D
all of the above
Question 16 Explanation: 
Short-run impulses are a flawed guide to long-run well-being. This brain we've inherited is not easy to manage, but we're lucky to be alive to manage it.
Question 17

Why are we so motivated to escape threatened feelings?

A
Brains that focused on threats before rewards were more likely to survive, so we've inherited a brain that focuses on threats.
Hint:
Yes, a baboon who focused on lions before food would live to eat another day. But what about B?
B
We're born helpless, so any threat to our social support is a survival threat in our formative years. This wires us to feel like a social threat is a survival threat later on.
Hint:
Yes, the brain confuses social pain with physical pain. But what about C?
C
Animals only react to threats that are actually reaching their senses, but the human cortex can activate threat signals internally.
Hint:
Yes, we humans can terrorize ourselves in our quest for safety. But what about A and B?
D
all of the above
Question 17 Explanation: 
A baboon can escape a lion by running up a tree, and the relief from threat feels so great that it wires the baboon to scan for trees. Whatever brought you relief from a threatened feeling in your past gets your attention today.
Question 18

How can you feel good about things that are actually good for you?

A
Choose a behavior or thought habit that's good for you and repeat it without fail for 45 days whether it feels good or not.
B
move to a place with high statistical rates of happiness
Hint:
Many of those places have high suicide rates too - these statistics are biased by many factors so you're better off taking charge of your own wiring.
C
put on a happy face
Hint:
Smiling has some power, but you can enjoy many more powerful happy habits when you know how to build them.
D
tell everyone how much you love your new health routine
Hint:
That could work for a while, but you have even more power over your brain.
Question 18 Explanation: 
The new behavior may feel bad at first because it lacks a superhighway to your happy chemicals. But with repetition, it will grow big enough to compete with the old path that leads where you don't need to go.
Question 19

Why is it so hard to be happy with what you have?

A
habituation: your brain stops releasing happy chemicals once a reward is expected, so your old reliable happy habits fail to work sooner or later
B
social comparison: your brain rewards you with serotonin when you come out on top but you end up with cortisol when you try and fail
C
tradeoffs: One happy chemical is at risk when you take a step toward another.
D
all of the above
Question 19 Explanation: 
It is hard to be happy with what you have because our quirky brain habituates, makes social comparisons, and loses one happy chemical when it pursues another. Managing this quirky brain is the challenge that comes with the gift of life.
Question 20

How can you help others to be happy?

A
reach into their brain and build new bridges between their neurons
Hint:
You know this is a joke, but remember it the next time you expect to make someone else happy.
B
join in their hostility so they feel understood
Hint:
You know this is a joke, but if you ride the empathy bandwagon, you may find yourself doing it.
C
tell them to look on the bright side, and then let a doctor handle it
Hint:
That would be nice if it worked, but what if it doesn't?
D
be happy yourself, and their mirror neurons will learn from your rewards
Question 20 Explanation: 
You can model happiness for others, but you have to value yourself instead of just doing it for them. Lots more about this in Level 2, Meet Your Inner Mammal, so get started soon! https://innermammalinstitute.org/training2
Once you are finished, click the button below. Any items you have not completed will be marked incorrect. Get Results
There are 20 questions to complete.

"You can manage your happy brain chemicals when you know
how they work
in the state of nature."
--Loretta Breuning, PhD

VIDEO : You Have Power Over Your Happy Brain Chemicals!

 

A fast, fun intro to your brain chemicals and a concrete plan to wire in a new happy habit! 

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