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Dopamine Makes People Addicted to Seeking Information

100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People

We design to elicit responses from people. We want them to buy something, read more, or take action of some kind. Designing without understanding what makes people act the way they do is like exploring a new city without a map: results will be haphazard, confusing, and inefficient. This book combines real science and research with practical examples to deliver a guide every designer needs. With it you’ll be able to design more intuitive and engaging work for print, websites, applications, and products that matches the way people think, work, and play.

Learn to increase the effectiveness, conversion rates, and usability of your own design projects by finding the answers to questions such as:

What grabs and holds attention on a page or screen?
What makes memories stick?
What is more important, peripheral or central vision?
How can you predict the types of errors that people will make?
What is the limit to someone’s social circle?
How do you motivate people to continue on to (the next step?
What line length for text is best?
Are some fonts better than others?


Dopamine Makes People Addicted to Seeking Information

Do you ever feel like you're addicted to e-mail or Twitter or texting? Do you find it impossible to ignore your e-mail if you see that there are messages in your inbox? Have you ever gone to Google to look up some information and realized 30 minutes later that you've been reading and linking and searching around for something totally different than before? These are all examples of your dopamine system at work.

Neuroscientists have been studying what they call the dopamine system since 1958, when it was identified by Arvid Carlsson and Nils-Ake Hillarp at the National Heart Institute of Sweden. Dopamine is created in various parts of the brain and is critical in all sorts of brain functions, including thinking, moving, sleeping, mood, attention, motivation, seeking, and reward.

Pleasure Chemical or Motoivation Chemical?

You may have heard that dopamine controls the "pleasure" systems of the brain that make you feel enjoyment. But researchers have recently found that instead of causing you to experience pleasure, dopamine actually causes you to want, desire, seek out, and search. It increases your general level of arousal, motivation, and goal-directed behavior. It's not only about physical needs such as food or sex, but also about abstract concepts. Dopamine makes you curious about ideas and fuels your search for informaion. The latest research shows that it is the opioid system, more than the dopamine system, that is involved in feelings of pleasure.

According to Kent Berridge (1998), these two systems—the "wanting" (dopamine) and the "liking" (opioid)—are complementary. The wanting system propels you to action and the liking system makes you feel satisfied, and therefore makes you pause your seeking. If your seeking isn't turned off, then you start to run in an endless loop. The dopamine system is stronger than the opioid system. You seek more than you are satisfied.

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