Psychoactive drug use in evolutionary perspective

Randolph Nesse, Kent C. Berridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

205 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Pure psychoactive drugs and direct routes of administration are evolutionarily novel features of our environment. They are inherently pathogenic because they bypass adaptive information processing systems and act directly on ancient brain mechanisms that control emotion and behavior. Drugs that induce positive emotions give a false signal of a fitness benefit. This signal hijacks incentive mechanisms of 'liking' and 'wanting,' and can result in continued use of drugs that no longer bring pleasure. Drugs that block negative emotions can impair useful defenses, although there are several reasons why their use is often safe nonetheless. A deeper understanding of the evolutionary origins and functions of the emotions and their neural mechanisms is needed as a basis for decisions about the use of psychoactive drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-66
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume278
Issue number5335
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 3 1997
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Psychotropic Drugs
Emotions
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Behavior Control
Pleasure
Automatic Data Processing
Information Systems
Motivation
Brain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

Psychoactive drug use in evolutionary perspective. / Nesse, Randolph; Berridge, Kent C.

In: Science, Vol. 278, No. 5335, 03.10.1997, p. 63-66.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Nesse, Randolph ; Berridge, Kent C. / Psychoactive drug use in evolutionary perspective. In: Science. 1997 ; Vol. 278, No. 5335. pp. 63-66.
@article{44d5a64df7554663bf012086cfd80104,
title = "Psychoactive drug use in evolutionary perspective",
abstract = "Pure psychoactive drugs and direct routes of administration are evolutionarily novel features of our environment. They are inherently pathogenic because they bypass adaptive information processing systems and act directly on ancient brain mechanisms that control emotion and behavior. Drugs that induce positive emotions give a false signal of a fitness benefit. This signal hijacks incentive mechanisms of 'liking' and 'wanting,' and can result in continued use of drugs that no longer bring pleasure. Drugs that block negative emotions can impair useful defenses, although there are several reasons why their use is often safe nonetheless. A deeper understanding of the evolutionary origins and functions of the emotions and their neural mechanisms is needed as a basis for decisions about the use of psychoactive drugs.",
author = "Randolph Nesse and Berridge, {Kent C.}",
year = "1997",
month = "10",
day = "3",
doi = "10.1126/science.278.5335.63",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "278",
pages = "63--66",
journal = "Science",
issn = "0036-8075",
publisher = "American Association for the Advancement of Science",
number = "5335",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Psychoactive drug use in evolutionary perspective

AU - Nesse, Randolph

AU - Berridge, Kent C.

PY - 1997/10/3

Y1 - 1997/10/3

N2 - Pure psychoactive drugs and direct routes of administration are evolutionarily novel features of our environment. They are inherently pathogenic because they bypass adaptive information processing systems and act directly on ancient brain mechanisms that control emotion and behavior. Drugs that induce positive emotions give a false signal of a fitness benefit. This signal hijacks incentive mechanisms of 'liking' and 'wanting,' and can result in continued use of drugs that no longer bring pleasure. Drugs that block negative emotions can impair useful defenses, although there are several reasons why their use is often safe nonetheless. A deeper understanding of the evolutionary origins and functions of the emotions and their neural mechanisms is needed as a basis for decisions about the use of psychoactive drugs.

AB - Pure psychoactive drugs and direct routes of administration are evolutionarily novel features of our environment. They are inherently pathogenic because they bypass adaptive information processing systems and act directly on ancient brain mechanisms that control emotion and behavior. Drugs that induce positive emotions give a false signal of a fitness benefit. This signal hijacks incentive mechanisms of 'liking' and 'wanting,' and can result in continued use of drugs that no longer bring pleasure. Drugs that block negative emotions can impair useful defenses, although there are several reasons why their use is often safe nonetheless. A deeper understanding of the evolutionary origins and functions of the emotions and their neural mechanisms is needed as a basis for decisions about the use of psychoactive drugs.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0030798699&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0030798699&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1126/science.278.5335.63

DO - 10.1126/science.278.5335.63

M3 - Article

C2 - 9311928

AN - SCOPUS:0030798699

VL - 278

SP - 63

EP - 66

JO - Science

JF - Science

SN - 0036-8075

IS - 5335

ER -