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date: 23 March 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This article focuses on addiction to examine the issues of decision-making and behavioral control and their ethical implications. Addicted people habitually engage in apparently voluntary behaviors, such as drug seeking and drug use, that are by standard definitions of addiction, compulsive or beyond the person's control. Addiction also provides a useful window because there has been made substantial progress toward understanding its neural mechanisms, even if somewhat divergent perspectives remain. For both ethical and technological reasons, most current experiments in human neurobiology, including many based on functional magnetic resonance imaging; yield correlative information rather than direct tests of causal mechanisms. The focus on compulsive drug use as the cardinal feature of addiction improves upon older views that had focused on dependence and withdrawal. The shaping of behavior to maximize future reward is dependent on the precise pattern of dopamine release. One of the most significant features of drug addiction discussed is its persistence.

Keywords: addiction, behavioral control, ethical implications, dopamine, neural mechanisms

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