The Brain Circuits Underlying Motivation: An Interactive Graphic

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What is motivation? The brain systems that govern motivation are built over time, starting in the earliest years of development. These intricate neural circuits and structures are shaped by interactions between the experiences we have and the genes we are born with, which together influence both how our motivation systems develop and how they function later in life.

In the interactive graphic above, hover over or click the labels on the brain regions to learn more about how each region affects motivation, and hover over or click the highlighted text to the left of the brain image to see how those regions interact.

This graphic is from “Understanding Motivation: Building the Brain Architecture That Supports Learning, Health, and Community Participation,” Working Paper No. 14 from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child.

Brain illustration by Betsy Hayes

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