Dopamine is a neurotransmitter. It is a chemical messenger originated from a nervous termination that interacts with a specific receptor to produce different physiological responses. As a result, it helps in the transmission of signals in the brain and other vital areas.
Dopamine is found in humans as well as animals, including both vertebrates and invertebrates.
How it works?
This neurotransmitter’s main functions are promoting mental energy, improve attention, impulse control, motivation and determination. When there is a deficient production of dopamine the results are translated in fatigue, dizziness, high desires of sugar or coffee, weight gain, attention problems, decrease of sexual desire and impulse control.
A recent study done by the MIT reveals that dopamine is also the neurotransmitter responsible of motivating us in
the most difficult moments, under a promise of “reward”. This study was made in a population of rats, scientists explain these findings are applicable in the same way with humans.
The results showed that, when the rat was approaching an objective or a distant prize the dopamine production increased, this can be seen with Parkinson patients where dopamine is affected and there is not enough motivation to reach objectives or long tasks.
Games and Dopamine
Dopamine Involved in learning and feelings of reward, is released in the brain’s striatum during game activities strengthening the brain cell connections underlying memory and learning, which is why games can be put to educational and therapeutic uses.
Game strategy applications have an appeal that crosses many demographic boundaries, such as age, gender, ethnicity, or educational attainment. Besides being fun and stimulating, they can be used to help set up goals and rehearse working towards them, maintain a record of behavioral change, provide reinforcement, feedback and self-esteem.
Encouraging play, creates excitement and a more lighthearted work atmosphere that in turn stimulates employees to take more creative risks.
How Gamification is helping?
The reasons why people play are very punctual. In a survey made by the CRMGamified team to relatives and coworkers, the answers where centered in these specific reasons:
- Socializing: Relationships between players are stronger because entertainment can foster trust, empathy and compassion. It is a perfect way of making new friends and breaking the ice in any situation of shyness.
- Stress relief: Play releases endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote the sense of well-being and can even relieve pain.
- Revitalizing: As the famous Irish Nobel Prize winner George Bernard Shaw said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
- Brain challenges: Playing brain skilled games help prevent Alzheimer and improve brain functionality. Playing games with relatives, co-workers or friends help ward off depression and stress.
- Creativity: The best way of learning something as children or adults is by playing. A fun task turns into an easy task immediately, stimulating imagination, and improving problem resolution.
Sports and Dopamine
Athletes are likely to have one thing in common: Higher levels of dopamine. The habit of regular workouts, push them to perform way better than in their last workout. Better known as the brain’s “reward center”, dopamine is essential for concentration, quick reaction time, focus, and what’s most important, good moods.
Food and Dopamine
A balanced diet is a very important step to improve dopamine production, the neurotransmitters are produced from amino acids and these require vitamins and minerals, so the diet must be rich in proteins such as those found in meat, fish, vegetables, beans, eggs and soy.
Work and Dopamine
To determine the consequences of stress during work we should understand the difference between positive stress and negative stress. In both cases there is an emotional condition that models working attitude and effectivity.
Positive stress enhances productivity and performance, while negative stress does completely the opposite. Knowing dopamine is produced in very high levels when a sensation of reward and recognition is present we should be aware that a negative stress will trigger the results we want to avoid.
So how can we turn negative stress into positive stress?
After all the necessary research needed to develop a successful solution, CRMGamified developed a motivation solution.
Hurrah! Leaderboards shows the information registered in MS Dynamics CRM in a live slideshow exhibited in TV screens around the office with a rewarding experience of customizable videos, sounds, music, pictures and events recognizing the achievements of teams or individuals.
This technique links work responsibilities with an entertaining game/competition experience, activating an increased production of dopamine thus a positive physical response, showing non-detectable results of work overwhelming or burnout.