Yesterday I read an article about how washing your hand can make you more optimistic but not more motivated. This reminds me to how a poster to wash your hand at the election booth can affect which kind of political party or politician you vote for. These things are amusing to me, and though the article doesn’t say anything about what causes it, I can’t help but to correlate it with the chemicals in the brain.
I suspect that washing your hand affects the level of Serotonin in your brain. You might know Serotonin as the chemical of confidence and optimism, among many other functions. Scientists also relate Serotonin with the tendency of being conservative. Conservative people dislike changes and new things, and are loyal, proud, lawful, religious, and prefer to have proven things. Conservative people like to remember the past. These people like, pursue, and usually hold higher social status in the community, and they value others by their social status. Lineage matters to them. Conservative people like and choose other conservative people, including for a lover or spouse, especially those with high social status. That’s why people who have a dominant Serotonin system tend to vote for conservative political party or people, who are usually proud and have good social status. Because one of the aspects of conservatism is preserving, like washing your hands, things that increase Serotonin level in your brain, like that poster telling to wash your hands, can make you tend to vote for a more conservative option. With similar deduction we get that washing your hands can make you feel more optimistic.
Dopamine seems to have the opposite effect of Serotonin. You might know Dopamine as the chemical of curiosity and motivation, among many other functions. When Serotonin is in effect, it suppresses the effect of Dopamine. That is why someone who is conservative tends to be not progressive (well, duh!), a trait of someone with a dominant Dopamine system. When I said progressive I mean the trait of someone who has a mind that tends and needs to move and change all the time, to try and create something new, to have unbounded ideas and be creative. They want change and freedom. Because they don’t like to be bound by laws and rules, they tend think outside the box and they are well-suited for creative jobs like designing or art-related. That’s why Conservative people aren’t really suited for those jobs. Well, they can have such jobs, but they’ll make boring designs and arts. Because they prefer proper planning, Conservatives also tend to have steady pace, which can be considered as slow by Progressive people.
Increasing Serotonin level in your brain, while makes you feel more confident, might hinder the Dopamine system, which can affect your motivation, creativity, and the ability to learn.
Although they have the opposite effects, it doesn’t mean that they can’t coexist. Many recreational drugs like cocaine and ecstasy pills increase the level of both Serotonin and Dopamine (and damage your brain while at it), so that while they are in effect, people can both feel more confident and be more creative. Many artists consume those drugs for that reason. Even without those drugs, if you have a good and balanced system, you can have high levels of both Serotonin and Dopamine, and you can have the bests of the two worlds. I personally do aim to be a balanced person.
Anyway, don’t want it to be too long. I’ll write more later, maybe, about the negatives and positives about Serotonin, Dopamine, and other neurotransmitters and chemicals in the brain. I do wanna write more about Neuroscience-related stuffs from now on.