A chunk of your brain is responsible for anticipating whether something will be fun or not. Apparently, cocaine and other addictive substances (including spouses, according to Tyler) can fool it – cocaine turns out to be not nearly as much fun as you thought it was going to be.
This is bad news for rats, who can starve to death while binging on coke, but humans realise they have been fooled and in moments of calm reflection can take steps to avoid the ‘hot mode’.
This from Douglas Bernheim and Antonio Rangel’s paper on addiction, which made it to the American Economic Review. A fascinating compromise between a rational addiction model and a neurological approach.
As so often, though, Thomas Schelling was there first.