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Botenstoff | Dr. Yasemin Yazan

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter and is often mistakenly referred to as the happiness hormone. However, dopamine is not a transmitter (messenger substance) for happiness, but the transmitter for anticipation. It is the driving force that motivates us, that drives us to achieve a goal.

The prospect of catching prey while hunting activates the nucleus accumbens in our brain. This is an important area of our reward system. This leads to an increased concentration of the neurotransmitter mentioned here, which triggers a feeling of anticipation in us and ultimately motivates us to go hunting.

But how can we influence the amount of dopamine in our body?

If we succeed in activating our motivation system, dopamine is produced in sufficient quantities in our body. The prerequisite for this is:

1. Purpose: it must be purposeful for me

2. Desirable: it must be desirable for me

3. Achievable: I must have the feeling that I can achieve it

If just one of the prerequisites is not met, the motivation system cannot be activated.

If it is that simple, how can it be explained that so many efforts, e.g. in companies, come to nothing?

I need to understand the response properties of dopaminergic neurons in the brain, or in other words: it’s about reward expectation.

If the expectation regarding the reward…
…is completely fulfilled: Then the deviation signal is zero. Conclusion: We should not reward something that is already expected, because it is taken for granted and therefore has no effect.

…surprisingly exceeded: Then it leads to a strong impulse-like activation of the neurons. Conclusion: We should therefore focus on surprises that come unexpectedly or are even bigger than expected.

…undercut or not fulfilled: Then the deviation signal is negative. Conclusion: We should never make promises that we do not keep.

This makes it clear why many efforts in the context of New Work discussions and activities do not have the desired effect. Fruit baskets, free coffee, table football etc. can help to create a more pleasant atmosphere in the workplace, which is certainly not wrong and makes an important contribution to the whole in the context of corporate culture development. However, in terms of activating the individual’s motivation system for better performance, they fail to achieve the underlying intention.

© Image: Sebastian Kaulitzki –

3 Myths Debunked – When Science Creates Knowledge! | Dr Yasemin Yazan

When Science Creates Knowledge!

Unfortunately, there is a lot of false knowledge on the market. Be it because, for example, research results are misinterpreted or false causalities are made, or because they are transferred to other contexts that were not even the subject of the study.

We pick 3 myths and show what science already knows:

- Why Maslow's hierarchy of needs is not a reliable basis for motivation

- Why personality tests are questionable as a basis for personnel decisions

- Why a quota is needed as an effective measure against Unconscious Bias

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