I'm trying to understand what happens within a person's brain when a focus on an object of desire is temporarily disrupted by an outside event. In particular, what happens when the person focuses on the object of desire for the second time.

This question is best illustrated by an example:

  1. A person has a delicious cake and is ready to eat it in a common cafeteria
  2. A coworker interrupts the person with some work related talk
  3. A coworker leaves, and a person resumes focus on the cake.

What happens the moment the outside distraction is gone and the reward circuitry focuses on the object of desire again? Does the reward circuitry resume from a temporary suspension of activity, or does it reboot and start from scratch?

By restart I mean that if activity is measured, it would be very similar to the first time the cake is encountered, as if the brain is restarting the activity.

By resumption I mean that the activity is temporarily suspended and does not go through the same initial priming process as before.


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