What Happiness Looks Like


What does happiness look like in your brain?

This little video shows molecules of the protein myosin dragging a ball of endorphins along an active filament into the inner part of the brain’s parietal cortex. That produces feelings of happiness.

Or so it said online.

The creator of the animation, John Liebler, says it is the motor protein kinesin transporting intracellular material along a microtubule.

I don’t know what it is, but the thought of this little walk happening in my brain makes me smile.

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A lifelong educator on and off the Internet. Random by design and predictably irrational. It's turtles all the way down. Dolce far niente.

10 thoughts on “What Happiness Looks Like”

  1. Hi. I am trying to trace the original source for the caption in this video of kinesin dragging a vesicle along a microtubule (mislabelled as myosin dragging endorphin). It started to pop up in my world a few days ago (late February 2016) and yours is the earliest reference I see from (December 10, 2015). I am a biologist interested in the field but also a long-time netizen interested in how mis-information gets spread. Could you tell me where you found this and do you know who wrote the caption? It looks like the video itself came from the Harvard Medical School (where I work) BioVisions project, but they would certainly have been able to tell that its not myosin and not endorphin. Thanks!


  2. I agree, worrying about the details doesn’t matter. It makes on happy to read about happy stuff. Just to clarify, science animation is beautiful & you can read this illustrator’s blog who created it about vesicle transport by kinesin at http://www.artofthecell.com/…/well-you-can-tell-by-the…
    I love that we all embrace the community of happiness; and real biology is every bit as fascinating as this imagined image depicts. Let’s lean toward each other with wonder and not wait for an animated creation to inspire respect and delight. Thanks


  3. These are called motor proteins. They are in all cells, not just in the brain and have nothing to do with myosin, myosin are in muscle cells. Motor proteins help in mitosis, when the cell is duplicating and splitting. The motor proteins help pull the chromosomes apart.


    1. You are correct. As I commented earlier, you can find this image now in many places online with varying captions and sources –and so I added the caveat. I don’t think we can “see” happiness BUT the image and the idea of “seeing happiness” is somehow very interesting to people. This tiny little afterthought post has been at the the top of my post stats for months. I wish something I wrote would overtake it but so far, no. I suppose I should write a post about what happiness really does look like — if I only knew the answer.


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