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REPLAY: Daniel Z. Lieberman, M.D: Dopamine Is About So Much More Than Pleasure


Daniel Z. Lieberman is the author of The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity?and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race. He is a professor and vice chair for clinical affairs in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at George Washington University,  a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, and a recipient of the Caron Foundation Research Award. In addition to writing science books, he works with patients, teaches medical students, and does behavioral research.


All of our wealth comes from new ideas, so it helps to understand how the brain works.
Lieberman talks about the basics of why dopamine is so important.
Dopamine is so much more than just the pleasure molecule.
Dopamine is not about contentment or satisfaction because those emotions don’t stimulate us to seek more. Dopamine is the transmitter of anticipation.
People who have highly active dopamine systems are more likely to be entrepreneurs, artists, and to suffer from mental illness.
Dopamine leads to pleasure, but not happiness or satisfaction. That comes from other brain chemicals.
We talk about the reward prediction error and how it can lead to disappointment.
Some people go into things with low expectations. With low expectations, you are apt to get more positive feelings when things work out well.
If you always expect the best, you are bound to be disappointed.
Dopamine always pushes towards more.
People have to decide what they want out of life.
People who are highly dopaminergic aren’t happy or satisfied, but the rest of us profit from their dissatisfaction.
Artists are driven more by meaning than happiness.
We talk about entrepreneurs and their constant desire for more.
It’s not true that you can have it all. You have to make choices.
Once we understand how our brains work, we can make better choices.
We talk about addiction, the power of cravings, and how to overcome cravings.
Understanding how brains work helps you understand and tolerate others.


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