Mega Millions Prize Balloons Affect Our Brains

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Now, after no one took the $830 million cash prize, the Mega Millions lottery jackpot has been raised to $1.025 billion, making it the third-highest prize in the game’s history.

The current jackpot is still shy of the groundbreaking $1.537 billion won in South Carolina on Oct. 23, 2018, According to Mega Millions, the world’s largest lottery jackpot ever won on a single ticket.

Despite how fun it may be to fantasize about what you would do with that money, remember that:

The chances of taking home this extraordinary prize are roughly 1 in 302.5 million, Mega Millions has reported. Based on those odds, it is more likely that you will be hit by a meteorite or hit by lightning, according to National Geographic. With that in mind, winning numbers will be drawn at 11 p.m. Friday.

You lay down your money for a ticket, too, and the science is at play.

As a result of gambling, your brain releases a “feel-good” hormone called dopamine, which contributes to the pleasure many feel when they participate. The more you gamble, the more tolerance your body builds up for dopamine, skewing your brain’s reward system and encouraging you to take bigger risks, according to the Gateway Foundation.

“The National Council on Problem Gambling reports that over 2 million U.S. adults meet criteria for gambling addiction and problems due to this chemistry.”

The Hidden Costs

Although most Americans have gambled and the global gambling market is set to grow, a debate has emerged as to whether or not winning the lottery will positively affect the quality of someone’s life.

This is that whole idea of how can-money-buy-happiness. A Journal of Personality and Social Psychology study has found that “lottery winners aren’t any happier” than other people and they “take less pleasure from a series of mundane events.” But, there are other studies that argue that income increases do make for more frequent happiness, although not as intense.

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