If you have five minutes, Dr. Robert Sapolsky, professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University, delivers a brilliant crash course on how dopamine manipulates behavior. As Dr. Sapolsky explains, dopamine levels increase as soon as we start anticipating a reward. Once the dopamine starts flowing, monkeys and people will work and work and work in expectation of receiving a treat at the end of the toil. For monkeys, the anticipated reward can be a grape. For people it can be a pair of sneakers, a shiny car, an MBA that might lead to a high-paying job, early retirement, a couple of minutes of entertaining diversion, a few seconds of sexual gratification, or the promise of eternal salvation.
There are no discernible differences between how monkeys’ and human’s neurochemistry functions. The only distinction is that monkeys don’t get hooked on beliefs, ideologies, dogma, degrees, titles, fantasies, lies, empty promises, or self-deceptions.