Loretta Graziano Breuning

Professor Emerita of International Management Loretta Graziano Breuning

Goals don't bring satisfaction, says CSUEB prof

  • January 17, 2012 5:00am

Professor Emerita of International Management Loretta Graziano Breuning wrote an article, “Score! Dopamine! Repeat! Or Not,” for Psychology Today in which she explains how some people get caught up in endless efforts to stimulate more of that dopamine feel-good with more goal-seeking.  Read article.

“Reaching a goal triggers dopamine,” Breuning writes in her article. “It's foolish to speak of some people as "stressed" as if others go through life effortlessly. Being alive is stressful.”

She writes that old rewards no longer creates a dopamine spike and makes people happy because their brains habituate to the reward. “It takes what you have for granted and focuses its attention on new rewards. If you could get bigger and better rewards in every moment, you would never have to experience the core unhappiness of being a mortal human being. But that desperate seeking causes unhappiness of its own.”

Breuning has worked in Africa as a United Nations Volunteer and began studying the mammalian social brain after lecturing worldwide on bribery prevention. She has written previous books, including Greaseless: How to Thrive without Bribes in Developing Countries and I, Mammal: Why Your Brain Links Status and Happiness.

Read an earlier blog post on Bruening's new book, "Mammal brain wired to seek status and happiness."


California State University, East Bay is the San Francisco East Bay Area's high-access public university of choice. CSUEB serves the region with campuses in Hayward and Concord, a professional development center in Oakland, and an innovative online campus. With an enrollment of more than 14,000, the University offers a nationally recognized freshman year experience, award-winning curriculum, personalized instruction, and expert faculty. Students choose from among more than 100 professionally focused fields of study for which the University confers bachelor's and master's degrees, as well as an Ed.D. in education. Named a "Best in the West" college, as well as a Best Business School, by the influential Princeton Review, Cal State East Bay is among the region's foremost producers of teachers, business professionals and entrepreneurs, public administrators, health professionals, literary and performing artists, and science and math graduates.

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