Slate, the online magazine, has a story about how searching the Internet and keeping up with events through instant communication can fulfill biochemical needs within our brains. Research has shown that anticipation and simply "wanting" can stimulate dopamine production in the brain, and an Internet full of answers plays right into that.
The story describes the searching for information, and I suspect that includes searching for genealogy information, both online and off. While not specifically stated in the article, my guess is that seeking and finding genealogy information also stimulates dopamine production. Don't you feel a "high" when you find genealogy information that has eluded you for some time?
The article explains the work of Washington State University neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp and others. Quoting from the article:
For humans, this desire to search is not just about fulfilling our physical needs. Panksepp says that humans can get just as excited about abstract rewards as tangible ones. He says that when we get thrilled about the world of ideas, about making intellectual connections, about divining meaning, it is the seeking circuits that are firing. ...The dopamine circuits “promote states of eagerness and directed purpose,” Panksepp writes. It's a state humans love to be in. So good does it feel that we seek out activities, or substances, that keep this system aroused — cocaine and amphetamines, drugs of stimulation, are particularly effective at stirring it.
You can read more at http://www.slate.com/id/2224932/pagenum/all/.
Pssst! Wanna get high? Let's go to the archives!