Monday, 5 October 2009

Stephen Kosslyn: Satiators and addicts

I've been told that there are two kinds of people in the world: Satiators and Addicts. Satiators get their fill of something, and that's enough for the rest of their lives. For example, I'm that way about beaches: I grew up a 10-minute walk from the Pacific Ocean, and went to the beach practically every day during my adolescence. But enough was enough, and I now don't care whether I ever see a beach again. In contrast, Addicts get hooked, and never get enough of something. I've obsessed about the same narrow research topic for over 35 years, and the end is not in sight. Why am I a Satiator in some cases, and an Addict in others?

Stephen Kosslyn is Dean of Social Science and John Lindsley Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. He has published over 250 articles on visual mental imagery and been awarded numerous prizes including the Prix Jean-Louis Signoret.

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Anonymous said...

Surely these are two polarites? I can't stand folk who only see things in black or white.

Claudia in Durham, NC said...

With one you experience and feel the answer while with the other you still are seeking and have yet to feel the desired result.

Alan said...

What if you're addicted to the untainted memory of your trips to the beach (that is, you prefer memories of the beach to revisiting it)?

Dennis said...

This, I believe, is just human nature. Everyone has their "thing," so to speak. Substance abusers and even people with so-called addictive personalities have plenty of things in their lives they could take or leave. Often, therapy sessions is one of them.

In many cases, addictions or the means to feed them are socially acceptable or reinforced. So, they fly under the radar, and are not defined as pathological or even addictions.

Anonymous said...

Because you like beaches a bit, but really love studying psychology?

I find this question applies more interestingly to questions of whether users of pornography and prostitutes are sated or encouraged to seek further excesses.

PS - I like the word verification system. I now need to confirm taht I can read the word NERDIN. (Usage: Here I am, nerdin' along on the psychology website.)

Anonymous said...

Addiction is interesting because there exists such shallow explanations, thus, creating an extremely high rate (90%with the most common addictions) of relapse. There does not exist a communal remedy or approach to the reasons why a specific group of addicts are addicts in the first place. Individualized treatment and analysis is the only way the relapse rate will improve and unfortunantly that is a very rare form of treatment. These moronic psychiatrists can never think outside the box, I.e. are not creative.

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