23 January 2009

What is dopamine?

This is a first draft, I need a better microphone and I'm not sure about the text. Any constructive criticism?

Transcript: Dopamine is a very important chemical that regulates thought, movement, attention, motivation and learning. It's synthesized by neurons in the middle of the brain but is released all over, in small and large doses.

In small doses, it activates D2 receptors, which reinforces ongoing thoughts and movements. If you're eating pizza, the pleasant taste will activate dopamine neurons, raise dopamine concentrations in your brain, and you'll feel motivated and keep on eating. If you're experiencing something new or expecting something good, dopamine levels can rise up to 100% and you feel excited and completely focused. Being unfocused and easily distracted means your brain is low on dopamine - that's why Ritalin, amphetamine and coffee helps people with attention deficit disorder concentrate.

When something important, unexpected or rewarding happens, large amounts of dopamine are released, which activate D1 receptors and stimulate learning and the formation of new connections between neurons. Memories and habits are formed this way. All addictive drugs release large amounts of dopamine in the brain, but so does good food and drink, and sex, social pleasure, and money.. everything you want releases dopamine, and you want it because it releases dopamine. Things are important and valuable only if they activate your dopamine neurons; if you're still watching this video it's because it's releasing dopamine; and whatever you do when this movie stops will be what releases most dopamine.

More on dopamine: http://www.iplant.eu/monoamine.html
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