“Dopamine,” says Stanford professor Robert Sapolsky, “is not about pleasure; it’s about the anticipation of pleasure. It’s about the pursuit of happiness, rather than about happiness itself.”
From monkeys pressing buttons, to humans pulling slot machine levers, to careerism & belief in the afterlife, variable rewards & delayed gratification drive goal-directed behavior like mad. As Vincent Hanna would say, “All I am is what I’m going after.”
Spend five really interesting minutes with Professor Sapolsky, and if you’re interested in how to build addictive products based on these ideas, check out Nir Eyal’s Hooked.