This video, which a friend pointed out to me on the Guardian’s Web site, is quite intriguing. Its direct relevance to Parkinson’s is minimal, but it does discuss the role of dopamine in the brain and the psychological and sociological results of an excess thereof. Too much dopamine is, of course, precisely the opposite problem to that posed by Parkinson’s. Too much dopamine promotes addictive behaviour (such as that caused by some drugs used to treat Parkinson’s) and may also be at the root of problems such as mania and schizophrenia.
– video (17min 42sec) 18 May 2012
Although dopamine does control our wanting, it does not seem to affect our liking. This apparently counterintuitive lack of connection seems to have surprised the scientists. The issue seems to be that people and animals will, if depleted of dopamine, not make as much effort to obtain a pleasurable outcome (a hedonistic reward) – but, on obtaining the reward, they still enjoy it just as much. The difference is, essentially, motivational.
However… should the distinction be such a big surprise? Why do we have two different terms in the first place?
And why does popular culture so frequently refer to this type of difference? Here are some lyrical examples – not quite want and like (I couldn’t think of any that precise) – more need and want, love and like, even want, need and love. But it’s the same type of distinction.
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You just might find
You get what you need
And I need you more than want you, and I want you for all time
I am very very much in like with you
I hope that it’s enough ’cause it’s all I can do
I want you (I want you)
I need you (I need you)
But-there ain’t no way I’m ever gonna love you
Now don’t be sad (Don’t be sad)
‘Cause two out of three ain’t bad