googlesearch.jpgIf you follow my blog, instead of just coming here looking for some info on thalidomide or on Che Guevara’s death (the two most popular searches that lead to my site), you will have noticed that lately, I’ve been sort of obsessed with buying my children more and more craft kits. I have justified this to myself as my wanting to find things that I can do with the children that I would enjoy as well. But I’ve noticed that while I eagerly await the packages to come and I’m excited as I open them, I’m much less eager to start using them. I tell myself that I need to have the room, or the house, clean for me to feel OK doing something other than cleaning or working (or looking for more craft kits online!), but in reality, doing these crafts is not that much fun. Camila always wants to do everything by herself, and loses interest when she can’t – and Mika will go into grumpy mode if she’s not perfect at what she does. So why do I continue looking for more kits?
Well, Slate, the online magazine, has the answer. It appears (and I’d have to read the article again to get all the facts/science right) that when we are seeking something, whatever it is, the dopamine system on our brain is stimulated – we are flooded with dopamine. Apparently all that dopamine makes us feel very good, so good that people take drugs like cocaine and amphetamines to stimulate the system. The dopamine itself makes us feel eager and purposeful. So what’s not to love?
Well, apparently (and I’m a good example of that), this system has no mechanism to make us feel satiated, the more we do it, the more we want to do it – and moreover, the smaller and more umpredictable the “rewards” are, the more the system is stimulated, making us want more and seek more. With these mechanics, it’s no wonder that we are so addicted to google, facebook and twitter (Salon has a very good article on a twitter addiction) – which provide us with the feeling of the chase by entering a search term or pressing “reload” in our browser. In my case, of course, I’m addicted to searching for craft kits at Amazon (though I’ll branch out elsewhere to look for lower prices).
My addiction for craft kits is not, as you can expect, my only one. I’m also into posting and re-loading a food bulletin board and into looking for recipes for my epicurious or allrecipes for a recipe that uses some specific ingredient that’s on sale or I have at home. I spend an awfully large amount of time doing all three šŸ™
At least, now, I understand it – what I need to do now is to find ways to stimulate my dopamine system which are useful to me or others.