In “Seeking”, Emily Yoffe talks about how people have an unquenchable desire to search for things. In Yoffe’s essay she tells us how, like animals, we would rather search for our “food” rather than have it handed to us. The human mind is very curios. Yoffe says “we gather data even if it gets us into trouble” (Yoffe 599). Our minds are like Pacman while the yellow balls he eats are like the information and searches on random things that our minds absorb. This is like our hunger for information.
According to Yoffe the desire to search is both a physical need and can also be a tangible award. She says that the neurotransmitter, dopamine, is what fuels the seeking system. According to Gotlib dopamine is a chemical that sends signals between nerve cells. Gale says that “it was originally identified as the brain chemical associated with pleasure” (Gotlib). Yoffe cites a neuroscientist, Jaak Panksep, who says that “the dopamine circuits promote states of eagerness and directed purpose” (Yoffe 599). Panksepp also says that when we get excited about making intellectual, neurological connections it is the seeking circuits that are triggered. Yoffe says that our seeking mechanism needs to be shut off even for a little while so as not to cause a brain overload. If we do not do this our brains, will just keep reaching out for that next bit of information. Our brains are like a NASA supercomputer. A supercomputer is an extremely powerful computer. They are used by researchers (Wastaff). The NASA supercomputer in Columbia does about 42.7 trillion calculations per second (NASA’s Columbia). It is estimated that the human brain does about 10 quadrillion instructions per second (What is). Our brains are faster than the world’s fastest supercomputer! This is why we should let our minds rest for a while, to let our brains process it all.
In Yoffe’s essay she cites a psychology professor, Kent Berridge who has spent over two decades figuring out how the brain relates pleasure. He found out that the mammalian brain has two separate systems for wanting and liking. If we do not like the information we have found in our seeking we will go on to the next search until we find what we are looking for. Yoffe says that our brains are designed to be stimulated easier than they are satisfied. Yoffe quotes Berridge. Berridge says that our minds are stingier for pleasure rather than desire. Pleasure is a state of gratification while desire basically means to wish for something. People with fewer dopamine receptors and transporters have a harder time seeing something as pleasurable and worth the effort. People who have fewer transporters and receptors may have ADD or ADHD (Talan).
Yoffe tells of an experiment that a neuroscientist, Brian Knutson, would do to some people. Knutson would put people in an MRI machine and have them play a game. He found out that the possibility of getting a reward is much more stimulating then actually getting one. Our minds, like Pacman, are constantly looking for that next search result. When we find what we are looking for it is like an aha moment. According to Panksepp the dopamine system is activated by finding something new or unpredicted. We become addicted to finding that next search result and we want more of it. According to Yoffe all of our electronic communication devices fuel our addiction to search for things. Yoffe says that “if…