Dopamine: Driving Your Brain into the Future | Daniel Z. Lieberman | TEDxWilmingtonWomen

Published on 16 Jul 2019 / In Education & Lifestyle

Why are we obsessed with the things we want – and bored when we get them? Why do highly driven people so rarely enjoy the success they’ve earned? The answer is dopamine, a chemical in the brain that has been called “the pleasure molecule.” But is it? Find out why it holds the key to desire, motivation, and sometimes the most disastrous of consequences. In 1996 Dr. Daniel Lieberman joined the faculty at George Washington University, where he treated patients with a variety of psychiatric illnesses, including schizophrenia, addictions, and bipolar disorder. Oddly enough, despite being distinct illnesses, each one is characterized by overactivity of the same brain chemical: dopamine. Dan also learned that highly dopaminergic people without mental illness are often different from the general population. These special people are more likely to become artists, actors, and entrepreneurs.

How can dopamine be associated with such a broad range of characteristics, from mental illness to creativity? Dan’s research into this question uncovered a web of connections that included such far-flung topics as love, sex, genius, greed, and even the genetic roots of political ideology. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

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