Brain Basics

Brain Basics the reward foudation

Internet pornography is not like porn of the past. It affects the brain in a much more frenzied way. The first two short videos explain how. They take the guilt out of the issue by explaining how susceptible the brain, especially the adolescent brain, is to the lure of this hyper-stimulating entertainment which permeate our environment and culture.


This 4 minute TED talk called “The Demise of Guys” by Stanford professor Philip Zimbardo looks at arousal addiction.

“The Great Porn Experiment” is a 16 minute TEDx talk by former science teacher Gary Wilson, that answers the challenge set down by Zimbardo. It has been viewed more than 11.7 million times on YouTube and has been translated into 18 languages.

Gary has updated the TEDx talk in a longer presentation (1 hr 10 mins) called “Your Brain on Porn- How Internet Porn Affects Your Brain”.

For those who prefer an engaging and informative book see Gary’s Your Brain on Porn: Internet Pornography and the Emerging Science of Addiction available in paperback, on audio or on Kindle. The latest edition includes a section on the World Health Organisation’s newly revised International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) that provides for a new diagnosis of  ‘Compulsive Sexual Behaviour Disorder’ for the first time ever.

Your Brain on Porn narrated by Noah Church

What’s the difference between pleasure and happiness and why does it matter? Watch this excellent video called “Hacking the American Mind: the Science behind the Corporate Takeover of our Bodies and Brain” by neuroendocrinologist Dr Robert Lustig to find out why. (32 mins 42 secs)

In this ‘brain basics’ section The Reward Foundation takes you on a tour of the human brain.  The brain has evolved to help us survive and thrive. Weighing about 1.3kg (almost 3lbs), the human brain makes up just 2% of the body’s weight, but uses around 20% of its energy.

To grasp how the brain evolved to function in general terms, see the evolutionary development of the brain. Next we’ll see how the parts work together by exploring the principles of neuroplasticity, that is how we learn and unlearn habits including developing an addiction. We will also look at how the brain communicates attraction, love and sex via its main neurochemicals. To understand why we are driven towards these rewards, it is vital to know about the reward system. Why is the golden age of adolescence so turbulent, fun and confusing? Find out more about the adolescent brain.

The Reward Foundation does not offer therapy.