Our guests today are Dr. Daniel Lieberman and Michael Long. Dan is a professor and vice chair for clinical affairs in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at George Washington University. Mike is a trained physicist and award-winning writer. Dan and Mike are the co-authors of the new book, “The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity – and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race.”
In this interview, Dan and Mike start by discussing where they got the idea for their new book. They describe what dopamine is, how it functions in the human body, and how it affects our thoughts and behaviors. We then ask them how understanding the idea of dopamine can help us to live healthier, more fulfilling lives. They go on to talk about how modern technology stimulates the same receptors that we used to stimulate with drugs and alcohol. They also explain how dopamine focuses on maximizing future resources, and is incapable of ever being satisfied.
Chris provides an example of getting a similar high from both pigging out and then dieting. Dan describes the three different dopamine pathways: desire, control, and physical movement, and explains how they work. We then ask Dan and Mike to discuss the role that dopamine plays in relationships, love, and sex. They offer advice on avoiding the friend zone, as well as managing longer term relationships and transitioning from a future to present focused mindset. They also explain how dopamine and the present focused neurotransmitters fluctuate throughout different phases of a relationship and during sex.
Dan and Mike offer some tools on how to become more present, counteract desire, and get our dopamine circuits back in control. We ask them why mindfulness is so effective, and they provide some examples on how to be mindful. Dan then discusses the role that dopamine plays in addiction. He and Mike go on to talk about how dopamine affects ambition, and they offer tips on finding our passion and getting passionate about our work. Lastly, they discuss the role of dopamine in creativity. They explain why dreams can be a rich source of creativity, and demonstrate how to use dream incubation to solve problems.
Dan and Mike discuss why creative types are often more forgetful or scatterbrained than other people. We ask them if this is changeable or generally fixed throughout someone’s life. Chris then describes how the way he operates has changed through different phases of his life. Dan expands on the creative process, including the brainstorming stage versus the refinement stage. He and Mike also offer advice for aspiring creatives. Finally, they talk about some of the other topics covered in their book, as well as the key takeaways that people will get from reading it.
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