Strange Psychological Facts – Part Two

The middle chimp is laughing at his own joke. The chimp on the left says. "Was that funny?" The chimp on the right says, "Was what funny?"
The middle chimp is laughing at his own joke. The chimp on the left says. "Was that funny?" The chimp on the right says, "Was what funny?"

Welcome to ‘Strange Psychological Facts – Part Two.’

Did you read the first ‘Strange Psychological Facts’ ? You will recall that four strange facts about human behavior were explained:

1) You can remember 3 or 4 things at a time.

2) You cannot multi-task.

3) You cannot resist noticing food, sex or danger.

4) You have selective attention (like the chimp on the right in the photo).

Since most of us are constantly seeking knowledge – we just can’t help it – here are three more strange psychological facts to ponder.

Dopamine Pathways

5) Your Dopamine Causes ‘Seeking’ Behavior.

I know. You may have heard the myth that dopamine controls the pleasure system of your brain. That it makes you feel pleasure and motivates you to seek out specific rewards such as sex, food and drugs.

But the truth is dopamine does much more than that. The latest research tells us that dopamine causes seeking behavior – whether it is sex, food, drugs or information. True!

Here’s a brief explanation. For humans to survive, we much perform certain vital functions including eating, responding to aggression, and reproducing. Certain areas in our brains provide a pleasurable sensation as a reward for performing these functions.

Together, these areas form what is known as the ‘reward circuit.’ For those who require specifics, a group of neurons at the center of our brain known as the ventral tegmental area or VTA are like a central switchboard receiving information from other areas. The VTA forwards this information to another structure in our brain, the nucleus accumbens .

How is this accomplished you may ask? Aha! The VTA uses a chemical messenger – dopamine! As the level of dopamine increases, it reinforces our behaviors.

Scientists at the National Heart Institute of Sweden have been studying the effects of dopamine since 1958, and have determined that it is critical in thinking, moving, sleeping, mood, attention, motivation, and reward.

But here is the latest research which slightly alters this view. Dopamine does not cause us to experience pleasure. It causes seeking behavior. It makes us want, desire, seek out and search. It keeps us motivated to learn and survive. Not just because of our physical needs like food or sex, but curiosity about ideas and information.

It is the opoid system that makes us feel pleasure. The two systems, dopamine (wanting) and opoid (liking) are complementary. The first (wanting) moves us to action and the second (liking) makes us feel satisfied enough to pause temporarily. If the seeking isn’t turned off at least for a short time, we would be running on a never-ending treadmill.

The good news is that this latest research indicates that the dopamine system is stronger than the opoid system. We seek more than we are satisfied, so seeking is more likely to keep us alive than sitting around in a satisfied stupor (like certain unnamed members of the U.S. Congress).

With my supernatural power of ESP, I know you are thinking ‘what has dopamine got to do with seeking information?’

Well, let me ask you a question. Have you ever felt addicted to email or texting or Twitter? Can you ignore your email if you notice there are messages in your inbox? Have you ever used Google to search for information . . . and a half hour later you are still reading and searching? Perhaps for a different subject than before? These examples reflect your dopamine system at work.

Because of the Internet, Twitter and texting, we can have almost instant gratification of our desire to seek. Want to talk to someone right now? Send a text and they may respond in just a few seconds. Want to look up some information? Just type it into Google. Want to see what your friends are up to? Go to Twitter or Facebook.

Our dopamine starts us seeking and then we get rewarded which makes us seek more. It becomes harder and harder to stop looking at our email, stop texting, stop checking our cell phones for new messages or text.

Brain scan research shows that our brains show more stimulation and activity when we ANTICIPATE a reward than when we actually GET it. Extensive research on rats shows that if you destroy dopamine neurons, rats can still walk, chew, and swallow. But they will starve to death even when food is nearby. They have lost the desire to go get the food. (Hmmmmmm! Doesn't this look like an earthshaking opportunity for diet drug manufacturers?)

Slot machine
Slot machine

Dopamine is also stimulated by UNPREDICTABILITY. Think about your electronic gadgets and cell phones. Our emails, tweets and texts show up, but we don’t know exactly when they will or whom they will be from. It’s unpredictable. This is exactly what stimulates the dopamine system.

You may remember from your Psychology 101 class that this same unpredictability stimulates gamblers to gamble. Slot machines employ the same system as the variable reinforcement schedule. You do not know if or when you will be rewarded. Dopamine is involved in variable reinforcement schedules. If you hear the sound of a text or email or see a visual clue, it enhances the addictive effect. Remember Pavlov and his doggie.

Oh, oh. Have to stop now. I just received a tweet and the message is so short (less than 140 characters) it does not fully satisfy me. My dopamine system is very upset.

Laughing Panda

'Kung Fu Panda' is the funniest film ever.
'Kung Fu Panda' is the funniest film ever.

6) – You CAN Change a Habit.

Do you have a habit you would like to change? Are you trying to change the habits/behavior of other people? If you read any of the research on habits, you will find that habits are difficult to change.

Have you seen the amusing video about the musical stairs? If you have, please watch it again before reading on. There are three important lessons about changing habits illustrated in the video.

How to Change a Habit

It usually takes a lot of hard work to change a habit so here are three ideas to assist you in this task:

1 - Make the process FUN. If you want to change a habit you must substitute a new habit for the old one. To make the new habit more enticing, it must be a lot more FUN than the old one. A lot more.

2 - Make the new habit a SURPRISE. We enjoy surprises if they are pleasant or fun. Surprises capture our interest and attention. And you already know about the research indicating that things that are unpredictable stimulate our dopamine system that anticipates rewards.

When you pleasantly surprise people, you get their attention and they become primed to believe that what comes next might be pleasurable.

3 - Use a CROWD. Recent research in the area of social validation shows that people are greatly influenced by the behavior of others. When we see a number of other people doing something that looks interesting, like children, we will tend to join in.

The musical stairs in the video have all three elements. Stairs that look just like a piano and make real piano sounds when you use them are great fun. They are also a surprise since you want to prove to yourself that you can make those musical sounds, too. Add to that, almost everyone else you see is using the stairs – social validation at work.

Next time you choose a new habit to replace an old one, figure out how you can include fun and surprise. If you can find a way to include a crowd, too, you will be way ahead of the game.

7) Your Laughter IS the Best Medicine.

People, no matter who they are, no matter where they are, have the ability to laugh because we are basically social animals. Laughter is unconscious. You don’t believe me? Go ahead, try to laugh right now. What happened? You can’t produce genuine laughter on command. When you try to, it sounds fake and forced.

Did you know some animals can laugh? Here is the evidence:

Cookie the Laughing Penguin

The Marx Brothers

Since laughter is universal and we laugh relatively often, you might think there have been tons of research on the subject. But actually very little laughter research has taken place. Except for Norman Cousins. You may remember Norman. He suffered from a painful connective tissue disease (ankylosing spondylitis) and the prognosis for his recovery was poor.

But Norman believed he could cure himself using humor as a painkiller and substitute for chemical therapy. He watched old Marx Brothers movies which evoked genuine belly laughter. As a result he was able to sleep at least two hours at a time free of pain without taking any medication.

Laughing baby
Laughing baby | Source
Laughing Spitz dog
Laughing Spitz dog | Source
Laughing Buddha
Laughing Buddha | Source

Did you know there is now a scientific name for the study of humor as a treatment? It’s called psychoneuroimmunology. And there is now a title for the practice of humor therapy – Mirthologist.

Some of the available research on laughter has shown that laughing may aid in:

  • lowering blood pressure
  • reducing stress hormones
  • increasing muscle flexibility
  • boosting immune function by raising levels of infection-fighting T-cells, disease-fighting proteins, and B-cells which produce disease-destroying antibodies.
  • triggering the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers
  • producing a general sense of well-being.

Since I see myself as an amateur Mirthologist, here is some additional research on laughter I discovered:

  • Laughter is universal and cross-cultural. All humans in all cultures laugh.
  • Laughter is for social communication. We laugh 30 times more often when we are with others.
  • Laughter is contagious. We will smile and then start laughing as we hear others laugh.
  • Laughter appears early in babies at about 4 months old.
  • We rarely laugh in the middle of a sentence. We usually laugh at the end.
  • Other primates and mammals laugh. There are videos of rats laughing while being tickled.
  • Most laughing occurs by the person who is speaking, not the person who is listening. The person who is speaking laughs twice as much.
  • Women laugh more than twice as much as men.
  • Laughter denotes social status. The higher up on the hierarchy you are in a group, the less you will laugh.

There are many reasons to laugh – to cope with a stressful situation, to break the ice at a tense moment, or to make someone feel more comfortable. We know how important it is to eat healthy, exercise our bodies and our minds and reduce the stressors in our lives, but let's not forget how important it is to laugh. "Laughter IS the Best Medicine."

Note: I have used that line at the end of my profile for several years now.

Now, as a self-proclaimed Mirthologist, I would be remiss if I did not leave you laughing. Watch Tucker, a Schnoodle (half Schnauzer, half Poodle) who plays the piano and sings his own accompaniment several times each day.

© Copyright BJ Rakow, Ph.D. 2012, 2014. All rights reserved. Author, "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So." Includes valuable information for older workers, and how to negotiate salary successfully.

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Comments for Strange Psychological Facts - Part Two 92 comments

vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 4 years ago

Now, this hub is just amazing! I had to call my husband to watch the Piano stairs and the Cookie the Laughing Penguin video. The first one is so interesting and hilarious and the other one is sooo cute :) Loved this hub, now off to vote and share!

Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

Rope some more of that dopamine for an opiod knock-out! How's that for an advertising slogan, drbj. And as to your question have we ever felt addicted to anything, i'll admit to an overpowering desire to clip gray hairs outta my head. Instant gratification seems to be the name of the game nowadays, much to the individual and society's sorrow, however. Excellent habit changers and the power of humor you have here, drbj. Now, if you'll excuse me I have an appointment with the Mirthologist, can you believe they actually make house calls in this day and time!?

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

I LOVE THIS! I live alone and often something funny crosses my mind and I burst out laughing or guffawing all by myself while I'm washing dishes or just 'being'. Of course, with others, I laugh, as well, but my guffaws are not limited by whether or not they're being shared. It's a talent born out of being alone from time to time in my life without letting it dull me, perhaps.

I certainly am unladylike when I hear 'a good one' on TV - especially talk shows and SNL. I was thinking earlier today that I should capture my raucous laughter on a video; - but that is not likely, - since it has to be spontaneous, as so many good things must be!

And you described me to a T, pursuing research online, in books, in my old files (which are massive!), in my own & others' hubs - wherever. When I'm reading a book, it's slow-going because I'm always referring back to some earlier item that helps clarify the one I'm reading. I'd have it no other way. Part of the fun of reading is being able to digest it as I go. Speed-reading has never appealed to me.

As for checking on emails and comments, well, lets just say that my dope-amine is out of control most of the time! haha. Fortunately, I guess, my ovoid system seems operative, as well. Each day is satisfying, but each next day - well - it's life, right?

(The eating is now centered on loving to eat healthy - which I do, and alone, I CAN so easily. Sex - well, that's a whole other matter. But it's not dead, just dormant! hehe.)

One thing I've pretty well mastered is the art of altering habits. I truly believe it may be the secret to longevity. And it does involve a 'fun' or good reward system to be accomplished. That can be stimulated by various means. And it may be wise to hang onto some bad habits in order to have them to change and keep feeling 'in charge' as one is aging. It does make one feel so 'on top of it'!! Figuring out which habits really need changing is good practice in prioritizing too, which is another good habit to stave off getting stale and out-of-touch. "Keeping on one's toes" is a good exercise!

I'm going to forward this hub to a few folks who will appreciate it, if you don't mind!

Big hugs and much love, DeaRBJ. You are such a joy!

Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 4 years ago from India

You are the most accomplished mirthologist I have ever come across!

(And now I know it was dopamine that caused me to check if that was actually a word!! :D)

akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon

I have to LOVE the stairs--I can imagine if I took my son Pat, we'd be there for DAYS as he tried to play songs. What a cool illustration of how to change behaviors~ I think that could apply across so many boards....not to mention keyboards~

John MacNab profile image

John MacNab 4 years ago from the banks of the St. Lawrence

Absolutely awesome drbj. I know how far down the social status I am...excuse me while I belly laugh. Beautiful, stunning, writing - voted up and all the way across.

christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 4 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

Everything about this hub was great, especially the penguin.

Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

You've done it, drbj, you've tickled my neurons with this intriguing, 'packed full of interesting information' article. My brain is spinning! First, I noticed how similar the experiment with the "piano keyed" stairs likens us to primates! It goes far beyond casual similarity.

The recent dopamine dogma explains addictions in a logical, cannot be denied way. The psychoneuroimmunology tag given to the study of the effects of laughter in human beings is personally very relevant to me. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease many years ago. With aging, I suffer more symptoms now. I've noticed that when I laugh with abandon (Curb your Enthusiasm by Larry David does it everytime), I feel cleansed, relaxed, free of my anxiety and lighter; younger, so to speak. Since the program is no longer on TV, I am going to purchase the series on DVD and try my own experiment! It is more fun and a lot less costly than doctor after doctor visits or anti-anxiety pills! Don't worry, drbj, I'll still see my rheumatologist. Promise.

The unpredictability factor, for me, is a huge part of excitement. Although, I am not a extreme risk-taker, I imagine unpredictability is a factor for those that are drawn to risky behaviors. I am thinking that quite possibly, what has been a source of mundane ice-breakers in conversation, ie. the weather, has more relevance than I ever thought after reading your piece. I find the unpredictable nature of the weather exciting. Will it snow, will it rain, oh no, tornado warnings, keep me glued to the TV meterologists. So, what better conversation starter than a mundane universal topic that holds the promise of unpredictability?

You've fired my neurons, once again, dear drbj, with your rare scientific brain that has room to include humor. You write with such flare that elevates my dopamine levels and make me feel like a million bucks with real laughter. You are as addictive as an opiate, but better, because enjoying your company is all good! Trust me

Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

How does one make dieting fun? I've tried changing my diet by introducing fun, new foods, but I'm sure I will always crave Chicken Fried Steak and doughnuts :-p

Could you send over someone to eradicate my dope-amine cells? Just the ones that make me want to eat too much.

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

drbj.....This is the BEST!......I love it. Your hub and the terrific videos have been my evening entertainment! Beats the hell out of anything on TV!!! Thanks so much for this education with entertainment! UP+++

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Well, vox, if you induced hubby to watch the Piano Stairs and Tickled Penguin videos, then you must be the perfect wife. You have my vote, m'dear. Delighted you enjoyed these hilarious and cute videos - so did I when I discovered them.

Thanks for the 'amazing, the loving the hub, the votes and the sharing.' You are much appreciated.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Love your new ad slogan, Alastar. 'Rope some more of that dopamine for an opiod knock-out!' works for me. Speaking of addictions, I once felt a need to pluck every gray hair outta my head, too. Then I discovered that for every gray hair you remove, seven more come to the funeral. True!

Instant gratification has always been - until now - a need expressed by infants and small children. But now as you so wisely point out, it does seem to be the name of the game for adults as well.

Thanks for appreciating my habit-changers suggestions and humor. I plan to add the title of Mirthologist to my business card. It should provoke new interest, doncha think?

precy anza profile image

precy anza 4 years ago from San Diego

Aha! I just went to the kitchen seeking for food, I'm hungry but doesn't know what to eat and I keep on looking! Then I got back on the pc and read this.... now I knew what made me did all that. Love the piano stairs! And that photo with the horse made me laughed! ^-^' probably horse was embarrassed, didn't know cow just saw what he did :) Voted up and shared!

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

It is most definitely a gift, Nellieanna, to be able to laugh out loud at something you perceive as funny even when there is no audience to share your laughter. I do it often. (On the other hand, folks in institutions do that, too, but that's a different story.)

I had an ESP feeling that my explanation of dopamine and its seeking behavior especially when it pertains to information would be applicable to you. Good to know that the opoid system checks in when necessary. :)

As far as the subject of sex is concerned, that's a whole nother hub in a whole nother venue. Have you read '50 Shades of Grey'? Interesting from a purely sociological point of view, of course.

Your view on altering habits is very interesting m'dear and contributes in a very large way to maintaining positive health for both body and mind.

Share as much as you like, m'luv - that is the greatest compliment. Many hugs backatcha and keep enjoying your life and laughing to the nth degree!

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

You are so sweet, FP, what a terrific compliment - "the most accomplished mirthologist you have ever come across!" Then again, perhaps I am the ONLY mirthologist you have ever come across.

Yes, it was your dopamine at work, fortunately. Wouldn't we be sad sacks without it?

always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

I wonder if Tucker is for sale. I love him.This was so much fun to read, " send dopamine to congress..Priceless! and little Cookie the laughing Penquin, i love him too. I forgot everything i ever learned in psysiology, i like yours better. Cheers my friend. You make me laugh like no other...

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

I love those musical stairs, too, Audrey. If I had the opportunity I would be there with you and your son, Pat, and we would all be jumping up and down those stairs trying to compose original melodies.

Thanks for appreciating that very 'cool' way to change people's behavior. It is applicable in so many ways.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Thanks, John, for finding this absolutely awesome. Go ahead and belly laugh - it's good for your health. And your social standing is way up there as far as I'm concerned. Promise.

And thanks for all those sublime adjectives and the vote Up and across.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

I knew you would love the penguin, christopher. I'm trying to adopt him myself. Thanks for finding everything about this hub great. You are SO perceptive! :)

akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon

P.S. And now Griffin is ticked at me for not letting him play the piano anymore--like Tucker--that's all I hear! I stopped him because he was drooling on the keys while he contemplated eating the sheet music--it was ruining my lovely digital piano!

I told him though as compensation for taking away the drooling piano gig, he can play my accordion instead. He seems content but little does he know, it will require him staying upright for even longer and not sure his big ham paws are going to be able to push the well as he pushes mine~

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Derdriu 4 years ago

DrBJ, Oh Most Excellent Venerable HubPages Sage and Mirthologist Extraordinaire, why do the higher-ups laugh less than the lower-downs?


Respectfully, and with many thanks and all the laughs and votes, Derdriu

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

What fun, amy, to have tickled your neurons, and so delighted that you found this 'intriguing and packed full of interesting information.' You are so right. Our relationship to other primates can not be denied.

I discovered long, long ago the benefits of humor and laughter - long before I knew the scientific explanations. Simple. Humor that causes laughter causes healthful benefits. I'm happy that you have learned this, too. And comforted that you include your physician in the loop.

Yes, the unpredictability factor (variable reinforcement) explains why we indulge in many risky behaviors, e.g., from the less dangerous (gambling) to the riskier (sky diving).

You made me laugh with your reference to the unpredictability of weather as more than a mundane way to start a conversation. Most of us do that on a regular basis.

I thank you for letting me know that I 'fired your neurons' and elevated your dopamine levels via long distance. Isn't the internet extraordinary? Thank you for your more than gracious comments which I do savor.

But ... 'as addictive as an opiate'? Hmmmmm, I'll have to ponder on that one.

GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 4 years ago from USA

Good Doctor bj - As usual, this piece is a super-bigtime winner. Thanks.

About your wonderful penguin - here is an observation passed along to us by a PhD-type - Doctor Bushong (Baylor Med). I paraphrase his statement: Learning things requires that you stick new thoughts into your brain. The brain can hold only so much at one time. In that aspect, the brain is like an iceberg, and thoughts are like penguins. When the iceberg has all of the penguins it can hold and one more penguin jumps on, one of the penguins already there is pushed off on the other side. His name, by the way, is "Forgot-it."

See you around the area...

Gus :-)))

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

I am a stair person, always choosing them over the elevator or escalator. With the piano I'd be so distracted that I'd forget where I was headed and continue to play! I also believe that laughter is indeed the best medicine. If only it came in pill form for those who don't appreciate laughter as much as the rest of us! :)

chef-de-jour profile image

chef-de-jour 4 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

A jolly good hub I should say and packed with classic images that could bring a smile to the most depressed pessimist this side of the Mississippi.

Yes, it's well established now that laughter and all that goes with it is contagious and positive (when genuine, pure and sincere); and more than likely good for health.

I had to laugh this morning when going through the answers section because one guy asked - which leg do you put in first when donning your pants (trousers in my language) - to which the answer could be...Which leg? I always make sure my foot is in first.

Your good health.

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada

drbj, I love to laugh for all of the above reasons, and I 'seek' funny people such as yourself to feed my laughing habit. I am fortunate to have a younger brother who is very good at telling funny stories. At family gatherings I am guaranteed to laugh until I cry, and always sleep well when I get home. Keep up the good work Ms Mirth. Regards, snakeslane

amillar profile image

amillar 4 years ago from Scotland, UK

Thank you for helping me to understand my own behaviour drbj, in such a clear and fun way. All I need now is to learn how to croon like that Schnoodle. (I already have the haircut.)

Niteriter profile image

Niteriter 4 years ago from Canada

Very well done as always, drbj. I read this Hub, as I do all your Hubs, from the very beginning to the very end. I took a short break somewhere near the very middle but, I assure you, it was for a purpose that would make you very proud. I'm certain you will be very trusting of me on that point.

So now, as once again our time together ends all too soon, I shall reluctantly take my leave. Until we meet again, I give you my solemn word that I shall do my part to uphold the wisdom of this piece by engaging in acts of seeking, habit changing, and laughing.

May there be no ebb to your dopamine flow. Cheers!

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

I know just how you feel, Lela. I've never seen a Barbecued Spare Rib nor a dish of mocha chip ice cream that didn't turn me on. Those cravings don't just go away. You first have to be convinced that making a change will be better for you in the long run. It's hard work and for some folks, hypnosis does help to keep those pesky dopamine neurons in check.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Delighted, Paula, to have been your evening entertainment with the hub and the funny videos. Thanks for loving and enjoying this 'entertaining education.' I do appreciate the Up with three pluses, too, m'dear.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

How 'bout that, Precy. Now you know why you were seeking that food. Thanks for loving the 'piano stairs,' they are really neat. And that unpredictable horse probably hates the cow for embarrassing him. The entire stable is probably talking about his cow pasture misfortune.

Thanks for the up and shared, m'dear.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Ruby. I love that Tucker doggie, too. So clever and talented. Maybe we can work out some sort of joint custody deal. On the other hand, I don't think his owners would ever part with him. I wouldn't.

Thanks for having fun reading this hub, enjoying Cookie, the penguin, and my brand of psychology.

Here's to shared laughs with each other forever . . . or longer. :)

AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

This is a wonderful hub, drbj! I loved reading it. The information is fascinating and the videos are very interesting and entertaining. Thank you for the education and for the very enjoyable hub!

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

How cruel, Audrey, to nip Griffin's piano-playing talent in the bud. You may have an undiscovered canine virtuoso in your household. If you can find a way to diminish his drooling on the keys and nipping on the sheet music, perhaps I can find a gig for him in a local saloon. The patrons already half smashed would love him.

Now the accordion is something else. Unless Griffin can play a polka, his career may be doomed before it begins. :)

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

How nice to see you here, oh, Derdriu. Thanks, m'dear, for the laughs, the votes and the sharing. That is an excellent question, y'know, 'why do the higher-ups laugh less than the lower-downs?'

The answer - from my experience - those who have less status also have less to lose and are more open in their reactions, i.e., laughter.

Those with higher status are much more guarded and careful with their reactions and less likely to reveal their true feelings. Strange but true.

Respectfully signed: Sage and Mirthologist Extraordinaire

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SilverGenes 4 years ago

Ah, so it's dopamine that's driving me to seek all that information on the Internet until the wee hours! It could be worse, I suppose. I could be gambling up a storm or standing under a red light somewhere - not really. I would just instill laughter in the passersby, but that would make me a healer. I have to stop now. My cellphone is ringing. Now I'm off to share this wonderful hub along with the videos :)

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, Gus, for finding this hub to be 'a super-bigtime winner.' Thanks for sharing the observations by your acquaintance, Dr. Bushong about the capacity of the brain.

My view is a little different. To date, I have never heard of anyone's brain being overloaded. Scientists' best guess is that the average human brain can hold about 100 million megabytes of memory. But this memory is not absolute. The brain does not have files or directories that can be deleted, copied or archived like those of a computer. But we all have experienced forgetting a phone number for example that we thought we had memorized and suddenly recalling the number several hours later. This is a phenomenon that we still can't really explain. But there is a simple theory that the brain treats pieces of these ignored memories like an inactive "archives" section until they are required. Our memories seem to depend on how often they are used. Even so, neuroscientists today do not believe there is such a thing as deletion of data in a brain.

Just sayin'.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

If you are a genuine stair person, Linda, then you have most certainly made the best choice to stay in good health by exercising rather than elevatoring, etc.

Like you, I would become so enamored with creating melodies on those remarkable stairs, I would probably never get to where I was sup0posed to be going.

I have long believed that laughter is the best medicine and try to include humor in my hubs whenever possible. If it came in pill form as you suggested, imagine how we could change for the better that segment of the population who have forgotten how to laugh!

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Nice to meet you, chef-de-jour. Thanks for the jolly good comments and delighted you had a smile and perhaps a few laughs. Laughter IS contagious and positive and good for one's health and well-being.

Cheers and good health (and laughter) backatcha.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, snakeslane, thank you for seeking me to help feed your laughing habit. It is my pleasure. If you are a guaranteed laughter, then you are my kind of people. Intense laughter does help one to sleep better at night.

I promise to keep up the good work and love your appellation for me. Ms. Mirth I shall now be.

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drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Nice to meet you, ChrisStyles. Delighted you like Tucker, the Schnoodle in the final YouTube video. Isn't he something else? Not only does it appear he is trying to sing a real song, but toward the end he puts his nose close to the sheet music as if he is trying to read it. True.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, amillar, it is my pleasure and delight to help you understand your own behavior in any way, shape or form that I can. If you have Tucker the Schnoodle's haircut already, then you, my friend, are way ahead of the game. Trust me.

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drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

You say the sweetest things, Niteriter. What more could I ask than that you show up, share your perceptive and gracious comments, and pledge to continue to engage in acts of seeking, habit-changing and laughter.

I do appreciate your reading my hubs from beginning to end. Sometimes even I do not engage in that practice! And you need not apologize for taking a short break in the midst which was a bit verbose I admit.

Reluctantly, I bid you a good night until the morrow. May the sun then shine down upon your countenance. In the meantime I shall do my best to sustain and maintain my dopamine flow. What a clever remark that was. Cheers to you as well.

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drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Alicia, thank you for the visit and for loving reading this hub. Providing informative education that is fascinating and applicable videos that are entertaining is my goal.

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drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Blame it on the dopamine, Alexandra, that's what is driving you to search and seek Internet information at all hours. True, you might also be a gambler who receives an uncertain return. Or standing under a red light earning ... well, I promise not to go there.

But I would never laugh at a beautiful working girl just trying to make a living on the mean streets. Now go answer your cellphone. And thank you, m'luv, for sharing this hub. You ARE a Hubbuddy.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

I love that they have humor therapy - it is a natural way to heal many things. Love your wit intertwined with this post, it made the reading fun and entertaining. I learned much from your sharing.

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drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Dianna. I do agree with you. Humor therapy is a much-needed adjunct to medical and psychological healing. Delighted that you learned much while you were 'entertained,' and grateful for your loyalty.

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Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

Brilliant! I love this hub. It was fun and the videos are awesome. Now I have a new word, Mirthology. Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed laughing;D

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drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Thelma. So happy you found this hub to be fun and the videos, awesome. Sharing is my pleasure, m'dear. Especially with someone like you who describes this as 'brilliant.' Keep laughing. Signed, the 'Mirthologist'.

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drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Not only intelligent, bigjessy (nice to meet you) but extremely verbal as well. Thanks for the visit.

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CMHypno 4 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

Interesting stuff drbj. A lot of people have a hard time accepting that around 98% of everything we say, do and think is controlled by our unconscious minds. That's why habits are so difficult to change, as you have to identify and change any beliefs that your unconscious mind is holding that may be blocking the changes you want to make.

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drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

You are right on the mark, CM. The subconscious controls much of our actions. That's why I suggested hypnosis as a possibility for a commenter who wished to lose weight. If a subject is willing, hypnosis can made a difference since it zeroes in on the subconscious mind. Delighted you found this interesting.

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RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Hi Drbj! I was recently reading somewhere (I swear I can't remember where - haha) that learning can be addictive and they cited exactly what you said. Crazy! I think I am addicted to learning...but only three or four new things at a time! Haha

Up and awesome!

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MartieCoetser 4 years ago from South Africa

Incredible information! So interesting. Fantastic videos included! Information about dopamine truly amazing, not to talk about those tips for changing a habit. And how awesome: "... a scientific name for the study of humor as a treatment... called psychoneuroimmunology. And a title for the practice of humor therapy – Mirthologist."

drbj, indeed, you are a Teacher and Mirthologist par excellence.

Thank you for a most enjoyable hub, stuffed with amazing psychological facts :)

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

I am glad they changed the word to Mirthology compared to psycho....blah! lol! seriously, my dad had parkinsons disease and that is when dopamine gets depleted and goes wrong, his personality changed because of it, so yes that makes sense, great hub, and voted all the way!

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drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

You are so right, Kelly, learning can be addictive and that's probably a good thing. Else most of the population would be wandering around mumbling like cretins looking for handouts. I'm so tempted, m'luv, to add 'most of them already are.' But I will contain myself.

You can only remember 3 or 4 new things at a time? I have difficulty getting past 1. Thanks for the 'up and awesome.' So are you, m'dear. Heh, heh.

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drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Thanks, Martie, for finding this info incredible and interesting and enjoying the videos. The more I learn about our dopamine pathways and their significance, the more amazed I become. Someday we may find a way to eliminate Alzheimers as well as Parkinsons that involves that fantastic system.

It is possible to change a habit but it is usually not short-term nor easy.

I'm happy that science has finally given a name to the use of humor as a treatment. I've been practicing psychoneuroimmunology for my entire career. Now I plan to print Mirthologist under my name on my business card. Promise.

Thank you for your gracious comments, m'luv, it is always my treat to have you visit.

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drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

You make a great point there, Nell. Mirthology is a much more positive term. Physicians and psychiatrists have long known the importance of the dopamine system in diseases like Parkinsons. The difficult part is learning how to use what we know.

Thanks for visiting and voting all the way, m'dear!

Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota

Absolutely hilarious, informative, educational and intriguing. I had so much fun watching the videos. The laughing penguin really touched me.

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drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Laura, so nice to see you here. That laughing penguin is a winner. Delighted you enjoyed watching the videos and found they were all those wonderful, astounding adjectives. Now you are the winner!

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Rosemay50 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

I think I am addicted to learning. Lol, google something and I just seem to go reading from one topic to another until I foreget what I googled in the first place.

Love those piano stairs... gosh how many calories could I use up there. The penguin was so cute how could we not have a chuckle at him.

This hub certainly improved my heath, all the laughing I did. Hmmm how much do I owe you doc :))

Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota

No biggy drbj but I'm Linda not Laura-Hee Hee-love getting my hub buds confused :-0 Hope your having a great day my friend.

tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina

Wow! This is deep and interesting information. I think this explains why I love Ebay so much. I love to find a surprise bargain. Hmm. must get a grip on the dopamine. Awesome hub!

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Of course, you're addicted to learning, Rosemary, just like me. Our dopamine pathways are constantly searching for more and more information. That's why we are both so super-intelligent. And modest!

One day I must visit those piano stairs in person. Happy you had a chuckle or two from the cute laughing penguin. If your laughter made you feel better, that's my payment. :)

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

I know you are Linda, M.T., but my dopamine was dopey that day. Forgive the error, I'm fixing it now ... Linda, Linda, Linda.

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drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Of course this is why eBay holds such a fascination for you, Tammy. It's the dopamine that does it. Thanks for finding this deep and interesting. Me, too. Oh, and thanks for the Awesome, m'dear.

epigramman profile image

epigramman 4 years ago

...well my dear DRBJ ....your hub presentations always make me feel like a little boy walking through a fun house and never wanting to come out ..... they are so much fun and full of mirth, mischief and mirrors which let us look at ourselves and laugh not to mention the animal kingdom who are just as unpredictable it seems as the human race - and of course like your legendary hub achievements - your support of my humble little page is also legendary - and it keeps me going with pride and inspiration - thank you thank you and thank you says the epi-man who has a gift indeed in your friendship and your lofty status as esteemed colleague - sending you big hugs from Colin, Tiffy and Gabriel on this cold snowy night by the lake of erie time 11:43pm ontario canada

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drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Talk about inspiration, Colin. That is exactly what you do for me. Especially with comments like these. Our friendship which may be fairly long-lasting by the usual Hubpages standards, is very special to me. Lofty status? Wow! Well, it does take one to know one, m'luv.

May you never lose that 'little boy walking through a fun house' persona, my friend, either on my pages or yours. Hoping the weather may have warmed up a bit for you. Hug Tiffy and Gabriel for me.

Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 4 years ago from East Coast, United States

Hi drbj - you are so right about the laughter. In times of stress it is a great relief. I remember when my dear out of town mother was so sick, after a visit, she claimed that she felt better for days. That's because we kept it light, we so often laughed. One time in the hospital, a nurse came into the room to scold us (my mom, best friend, another nurse, and I) for making so much noise laughing.

"There are very sick people here!" the nurse chided us.

My poor, dear little Mommy, sick unto death, skinny as a bird chimed up, "I'm sick."

It was so terrible, yet we fell into laughter again. It was magic. She was the most cheerful sick person ever - one tough cookie.

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Fossillady 4 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

High quality article. You make it easy to understand and fun. I agree, you are a Mirthologist . . . hee. See? I'm laughing. Very useful information you provided. It cleared up for me some stuff about dopamines. I had to stop and laugh at the funny animal photos, so I guess you could say my dopamines made me want to keep going and seek more information. Have stress free day, friend! I will try to laugh more!! Kathi :O)

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Dear Dolores - thank you for sharing that anecdote about laughing so hard with your sick mother in the hospital that the nurse chided you about sick people there. And your sweet so ill mother said, "I'm sick!" That brought a tear to my eye, m'dear, because my mother was always laughing even when she was ill in the hospital. I really identified with that story. Laughter does relieve stress.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Kathi, thanks for having the perceptive intelligence to realize I AM a Mirthologist. I have seen the funny side of life all my life. And humor is the great leveler.

Thanks for the very gracious comments and the laughter. I can hear it, m'dear. Happy to clear up any misinformation about dopamine and appreciate that you appreciated my funny animal photos.

EsmeSanBona profile image

EsmeSanBona 4 years ago from Macon

Wonderful hub. I especially loved the section on dopamine. I became fascinated with dopamine after hearing a segment on NPR about a grandmother who, after taking drugs for Parkinson's developed an insane gambling habit when she had never had even a hint of an interest prior to the medication. They finally determined that the dopamine was responsible.

I was sad however, to learn that I must be on the very bottom rung in my personal social hierarchy because I laugh like a little monkey all the time.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Nice to see you again, Esme. Yes, dopamine is a powerful and fascinating substance and we are only beginning to learn how awesomely it may shape our behavior. Thanks for sharing the anecdote of your 'gambling' grandmother. Do hope she has her 'addiction' under control if possible. If not, get her to play blackjack instead of the slots - it has the best odds for the bettor.

If you laugh all the time, like a little monkey or not, you are my kind of woman and I only hang out with folks who like funny!

EsmeSanBona profile image

EsmeSanBona 4 years ago from Macon

The poor grandmother lost nearly everything she owned and had to go off the Parkinson's meds. She said she can either have Parkinson's symptoms or lose her whole life--she chose Parkinson's. I think she got some kind of financial compensation, but don't remember for sure.

I love funny -- my mother thinks I love it a little too much because my laughing seems to embarrass her. I guess she's the one who ranks higher in our hierarchy. But you and I can definitely hang and laugh like little monkeys together!

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Sorry to hear about the pore granny, Esme. Perhaps we should find her and ask her to hang with us for a spell to have some laughs. Don't let anyone try to change you, m'dear, they will just get frustrated and you will just have more to laugh at. Trust me.

EsmeSanBona profile image

EsmeSanBona 4 years ago from Macon

Granny sounded pretty well-adjusted. I think the worst part for her was not knowing what on earth caused her to suddenly morph into a compulsive gambler out of nowhere.

I do trust you...I've seen the truth of your statement first hand. It's a terrible thing when I get started laughing and then someone attempts to make it stop. It just makes everything funnier--seriously, I'm not trying to be obstinate, I just get tickled at someone getting embarrassed over something I'm doing. Shouldn't I be the embarrassed person? The fact that I'm not and someone else is is just funny to me. :-) Keep on laughing and hope it's contagious is my motto. In these times we need all the mirth-makers we can find. I'm happy to know there's another one out there!

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drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

You just keep laughing and enjoying yourself, Esme, it's the only way sometimes to handle what life throws at us. If it annoys someone else, that's THEIR problem. I'm a self-proclaimed Mirthologist so I know!

Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

I loved this hub. We have a Schnoodle, and he is very demanding. If you don't pet him, he sticks his nose under your hand! No matter where your hand is, he can find it -)

I had never had dogs before, and we went to the dog pound on visiting day, just to look. He was kind of cute so we took him out, just for a minute. My daughter was tired so she sat down, just for a minute. He ran to her, sat on her lap and put his nose under her hand to make her pet him. Sooooo, we had to adopt him. Or did he adopt us? Well, now he is home. LOL!

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Your Schnoodle, Michele, is one very smart puppy. He discovered the secret of being appealing by sticking his nose under your hand in order to be petted - whenever possible. I would find that very hard to resist myself.

Of course he adopted you, m'dear. Is there any doubt?

Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

lol, no he adopted us, we know that :)

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Now, Michele, if you can only teach him to play the piano and sing (in tune), your fortune is assured. Trust me!

nancynurse profile image

nancynurse 4 years ago from Southeast USA

Very interesting. Thanks for all your research and sharing.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, nancynurse, for appreciating my interesting research. As for sharing, the pleasure, m'dear, is all mine. Now go take a look at the first entry in this genre: 'Strange Psychological Facts.' The link is above.

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KoffeeKlatch Gals 3 years ago from Sunny Florida

I love this article. The research is wonderful. I'm certainly glad to hear that you can change a habit. Up and awesome

drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, KK Gals. Thanks for finding this article and loving the research. Yes, m'dear, it is not impossible to change a habit. It just requires patience, persistence and repetition. Thanks for the Up and awesome, m'dear.

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MrsBrownsParlour 3 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

Hello, I was pointed in your direction by epigramman and I really enjoyed reading this! It's full of positive, helpful, interesting info and ideas. Thanks for writing this. :-)

drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

How nice to meet you, MrsBrownsParlour. Any friend of Epi-man is a friend of mine. So happy you enjoyed this and thanks for your gracious comments. Now go and read Part One (the link is shown under the heading "Previous" above.)

MrsBrownsParlour profile image

MrsBrownsParlour 3 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

Will do, thank you!

drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

You are most welcome, m'dear. Enjoy!

khmazz profile image

khmazz 3 years ago from South Florida

Wow! This was an amazing hub, so informative and interesting!! Great work! Thank you for sharing!

drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

How nice to meet you, Kristen, especially since you write such laudable comments. Thank you, m'dear. The pleasure is mine. And a hearty welcome to Hubpages. Now you might like to read 'Strange Psychological Facts' (part 1) also.

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