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Addiction – The Mechanisms of Addiction

3. Individual Differences in Addiction

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In this lecture, we think about individual differences in addiction, focusing in particular on: (i) the progressive desensitisation of the dopamine system, which is a factor in developing an addiction; (ii) the unanswered question of whether this desensitisation is permanent; (iii) the potential for brain damage to occur after addiction, from the behaviours associated with drug use, rather than from the drug itself; (iv) the vulnerability of the frontal lobes in the adolescent brain, resulting in potential for damage from drug use and associated behaviours; (v) a greater risk for addiction in adolescents who start taking drugs when compared to adults, due to the vulnerability of the young brain’s reward centre; (vi) a New Zealand longitudinal study, which found that adolescent drug-taking had a more negative impact on the brain than drug-taking in adulthood.


In this course, Dr Ashok Jansari (Goldsmiths, University of London) explores consequences of addiction. In the first lecture, we think about the process by which heroin generates an addiction. In the second lecture, we think about the physiological reward pathway in the brain, specifically the ventral tegmental area, the nucleus accumbens, and the front of the brain. Next, we think about some individual differences in susceptibility to addiction, looking closely at adolescence. In the fourth and final lecture, we think about some anti-drug campaign techniques which have had differing levels of success.


Dr Ashok Jansari is a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London. Dr Jansari’s research interests include memory disorders, prosopagnosia, executive functions, and synaesthesia. Dr Jansari is most famous for his research into prosopagnosia, having made numerous TV appearances, including on BBC1’s The One Show, as well as hosting his own ‘Neuro Talk’ YouTube channel:

Some of Dr Jansari's recent publications include 'Acquired synaesthesia following 2C-B use' (2019), 'Using virtual reality to investigate multitasking ability in individuals with frontal lobe lesions' (2019), and 'Identification from CCTV: Assessing police super-recogniser ability to spot faces in a crown and susceptibility to change blindness' (2018).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Jansari, A. (2022, June 09). Addiction – The Mechanisms of Addiction - Individual Differences in Addiction [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Jansari, A. "Addiction – The Mechanisms of Addiction – Individual Differences in Addiction." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 09 Jun 2022,

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