32. People Respond to Cues in the Environment

The dopamine system is especially sensitive to cues that a reward is coming. If there is a small, specific cue that signifies that something is going to happen, it sets off your dopamine system. This is called a Pavlovian response, named for the Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov, who experimented with dogs. When dogs (and humans) see food, they begin to salivate. Pavlov paired food with a sound; for instance, a bell. The bell is a stimulus. Every time the dogs saw food, they would also hear a bell, and they would salivate at the sight of the food. After a while the dogs would salivate at the sound of the bell. The food wasn’t even necessary for salivation to occur. When a stimulus is paired with information-seeking ...

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