Dopamine Challenge: Attention All Neurocritics

by Charles Lyell on March 20, 2014

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” — Theodore Roosevelt

Neurocritics who summarily dismiss neurocentrism are like puppets dismissing their strings.

Neurocentrism is a behavioral model that links all behavior to protecting and triggering dopamine flow. Ironically, the need to protect dopamine flow keeps neurocritics clinging to the conceit that human behavior is too complicated to be reduced to neurotransmitters.

With the help of modern brain scanning equipment, researchers have connected dopamine with addictions to heroin, cocaine, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, salt, sugar, junk foods, gambling, video games, social media, and on and on. Unless this is the first post you’re reading on this site, you already know I believe the list of addictive behaviors should be extended to include all of the survival behaviors humans share with chimpanzees. Abraham Maslow called them deficiency needs (d-needs) for food, sex, safety, power, acceptance, approval, attention, esteem, and status. Along the way, clever ancestors added money addiction. Money is especially addictive because it can be converted into dopamine-triggering foods, sex, safety, power, acceptance, approval, attention, esteem, status, bets, drugs, and/or more money.

Understanding why neurocritics do what they do is a no-brainer. The need to protect dopamine flow is so powerful that chimpanzees and PhDs frantically avoid real and imagined threats to safety, approval, and esteem. What’s unique about neurocritics is that their boundless self-deceptions help them artificially inflate their power, approval, attention, esteem, and dopamine flow by looking down on what they fear.

By dismissing what they can’t disprove, clever neurocritics demonstrate how dopamine overrides rational thinking and keeps seemingly intelligent critics from understanding how a neurotransmitter is pulling their strings.

If neurocritics were capable of rational thinking they’d realize how similar they are to the scholars who mocked Galileo for pointing out the obvious, the doctors who banished Ignaz Semmelweis for suggesting their unwashed hands were killing new mothers, and Dr. Dionysus Ladner (Professor of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy at University College, London) who was absolutely positive that “Rail travel at high speed is not possible because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia.”

Like yesteryear’s critics, neurocritics aren’t necessarily evil and they aren’t all intellectually challenged. Their problem is an inability to handle information that threatens safety, esteem, and dopamine flow.

Benign neurocritics would be tolerable but annoying. As history proves, ad nauseam, the most destructive critics are easily threatened and ruthless insiders driven to eliminate threats to their self interests. Left to their own devices, critics have been a blight on our species. For the first time it’s possible to expose the hypocrites for what they are — safety, power, approval, esteem, and money addicts in desperate need of professional help.

And that’s exactly what I intend to continue doing.

On that note, here’s my challenge to self-appointed neurocritics everywhere — do your best to prove me wrong so I can use your efforts to help others understand how dopamine works.

Please send your objections, dismissals, comments, and misgivings about neurocentrism to

Thank you




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