Why Businesses Spend Billions Manipulating Customers’ Dopamine Flow and Why Customers Don’t Care

by Charles Lyell on July 16, 2014

“It is hard to free fools from the chains they revere.” – Voltaire

Unfortunately for consumers, corporations peddling everything from apps to ziti understand dopamine is the key to addicting customers to their products. The rewards are so enormous, businesses are spending fortunes to learn how to turn consumers into dopamine puppets.

Fortunately for the corporations, consumers aren’t interested in spending minutes to learn how a powerful neurotransmitter is being used to manipulate them.

The similarities and differences between the puppeteers (investing in dopamine research) and the puppets (who don’t want to know why they don’t want to know) can be explained in terms of the only thing that matters to Homo sapiens and chimpanzees — maintaining dopamine flow.

The executives backing the research are money, power, and status addicts triggering dopamine with expectations of market shares, profits, bonuses, recognition, status, money, and sex. The marketers and scientists competing to sell their talents to miscreants do what they do to feed dopamine-induced cravings for food, sex, acceptance, approval, esteem, status, drugs, gambling, and money. Meanwhile, the consumers being manipulated don’t care because, like junkies (who use heroin to trigger the same dopamine), they depend on suppliers/pushers to keep the brain chemicals flowing.

Ironically, the executives, marketers, and researchers (who think they understand dopamine) don’t care about destroying consumers’ health or lives because they’re also dopamine puppets. Like the consumers they manipulate, the manipulators aren’t interested in information that threatens approval, esteem, cash, and dopamine flow.

A classic no-brainer

Ignoring and denying puppet status protects esteem / dopamine flow and ensures future dopamine-triggering opportunities. Admitting to irrational, immoral, despicable, addictive behaviors (to score the same dopamine squirts that keep junkies behaving irresponsibly) threatens dopamine flow because honesty comes with expectations of reduced approval, esteem, and dopamine-triggering opportunities.

The destruction continues ad nauseam and even do-gooders, who honestly believe they’re committed to making a difference, can’t admit they’re more interested in maintaining dopamine flow. If they were honest they’d figure out the most effective way to foster positive change is to expose the root cause of all man-made problems — addictions to customs, traditions, and behaviors sick societies consider normal, acceptable, and admirable. But the honesty would require admitting to addictions and few things are more threatening to safety, esteem, and dopamine flow.

Which explains why so many people waste so much time playing dopamine games that make it possible to ignore the obvious, excuse the inexcusable, defend the indefensible, and deny the undeniable. Dopamine games are the reason empty words speak louder than egregious actions.

One more example of why so few are interested in learning how a life-sustaining neurotransmitter, that helped primitive creatures make it to the 21st century, might keep sapient animals from reaching the 22nd.



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