Dr. Robert Lustig – The Hacking of the American Mind
5:30 P.M. – VIP RECEPTION
6:00 P.M. – LECTURE: THE HACKING OF THE AMERICAN MIND
What is the difference between pleasure and happiness? These two positive emotions are often confused with each other, yet they couldn’t be more different. Lustig says that pleasure is short-lived, visceral, usually experienced alone, and achievable with substances. Happiness, by contrast, is often the opposite—long-lived, ethereal, often experienced in social groups, and cannot be achieved through substances. Pleasure is taking, while happiness is giving. Pleasure relies on dopamine, while happiness relies on serotonin. These two emotions involve two different neurotransmitters, regulatory systems, and pathways in the brain.
But why should we care? Dopamine down-regulates its own receptor: You get a hit, a rush—and then the receptors go down. Next time, you need more and more. Anything that generates pleasure can lead to addiction. Conversely, serotonin does not down-regulate its own receptor, so you cannot overdose on too much happiness. There is one thing that does down-regulate serotonin though: dopamine. The more pleasure we seek, the less happy we become. The only way to reverse this is by understanding the science of these two ostensibly “positive” emotions—how they interact and how to modulate them. Otherwise, those who abdicate happiness for pleasure will end up with neither.
7:00 P.M. – Q+A WITH DR. LUSTIG
A Professor emeritus of Pediatrics, Division of Endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Dr. Lustig specializes in the field of neuroendocrinology, with an emphasis on the regulation of energy balance by the central nervous system. His research and clinical practice has focused on childhood obesity and diabetes. Dr. Lustig holds a Bachelor’s in Science from MIT, a Doctorate in Medicine from Cornell University Medical College, and a Master’s of Studies in Law from U.C. Hastings College of the Law.
Dr. Lustig is the author of the bestselling books The Hacking of the American Mind: The Science Behind the Corporate Takeover of Our Bodies and Brains (2017) and Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity and Disease (2013).
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Ticket includes a signed copy of The Hacking of the American Mind