Your Ability to feel Self-Esteem

In that one article about “Norepinephrine – the drink to fight or flight”, I explained how this neurotransmitter works and causes the fight or flight response. Sometimes instead of rejecting ones opinion, people tend to appreciate your views. This will lead to a decrease of the defense chemicals in the brain and the neurotransmitter dopamine activates the reward neurons. Consequently we fell empowered by these reward neurons and our self-esteem increases. 

Marketers should target the reward neurons

Due to the dopamine’s power to trigger the reward neurons, marketers should be focused on causing this reaction in order to generate positive associations by the consumer. Ways to do this are ads in the form of riddles, puzzles or little tasks. Referring to that, it is highly recommended to make these ads simple. Otherwise it might have the opposite effect which is of course a reduction of self-esteem and no positive associations at all. More precisely the consumers who are not able to solve it experience frustration and rejection towards the brand. But if the riddle featuring ad is solvable the consumer will recognize a certain level of achievement that makes him feel good about himself. 


Gamification is another term closely linked to dopamine influencing ads. Virtually you let the customer do or play something. In our example it is about an ad. With the growing spread of smart phones and computers customers have access to the internet almost everywhere. Thus marketers are now able to distribute interactive ads that work like a game. One the one side this type of ads will have a magnificent to a company’s brand recognition and it might triggers the reward neurons which make the customer associate the brand or ad with a positive experience.

Adjusting the level of self-esteem

It is not always necessary to get the approval or appreciation of others in order to trigger the release of reward neurons. You can do it yourself as well when you appreciate your own views or when you are convinced about yourself. I will give you an example, think about yourself to be a good looking and successful person, and now look into the mirror to get approval. You will now see that you look good, even when other people might not share your point of view. This will, however, lead to an increase of these reward neurons that lead to an increase of self-esteem. You might trap yourself doing this or saying positive things to yourself before going to a party or date. 

Placebos work in a similar way. They are effective because we do believe in their effectiveness. Thus whatever we believe in can have a profound impact on our body chemistry and hence on our ability of rational thinking. It also goes the opposite way, whenever you think that something might not work, defense chemicals will be released into your brain which might affect the rational thinking as well and you perceive the feeling of being unsecure. That feeling can become so strong that intense physical reactions such as shaking or a higher heart rate may follow. 

So, self-esteem or self-belief is closely linked to the neurotransmitter serotonin. When the lack of it takes on severe proportions, it often leads to depression, self-destructive-behavior and maybe even suicide.