Week after week, my goal of posting a curiosity box for a year is nearing. We are already done with a month in 2021, and I am unable to fathom how time flies. As we enter February already, here are the questions that kept me curious this week.
1 – Why do we stop a habit?
2 – How to cut vegetables?
1 – Why do we stop a habit?
All of us get excited to varying degrees when we buy something, visit a new cafe, try a contemporary cuisine, or start a new habit. But, have you experienced your excitement level fizzle out? And as a consequence, have you struggled to motivate yourself to get back in the habit?
I wanted to figure out the neuroscience behind it.
First, let’s look at why we get attached to things and then explore how the excitement fizzles out.
Through extensive research, psychologists have found that the feeling of getting attached stems from the way humans have evolved. Humans needed to hold on to essential objects like weapons to survive a day longer. Over the years, despite evolution on many levels, this innate drive to survive is still hardwired.
In the current age, an object reveals and describe the personality of the person who owns it. The same ideology applies to habits as well. In the pursuit of improving ourself, we pick up new habits, like exercising or writing. However noble our intentions were, we find it hard to continue with it.
Dopamine is the factor.
Dopamine is the chemical responsible for desire and motivation. The higher the level of dopamine, the higher the euphoria, desire, and motivation. Although dopamine was initially associated with addiction, technological advancements helped researchers show that dopamine also helps us stay driven.
But the catch here is the levels of dopamine can deplete and hence we naturally lose interest and motivation to continue a habit.
The formula is dopamine rush = actual reward – expectations of reward.
As we keep going at a habit, the expectations of the reward increases. And our dopamine rush can hit an all-time low and consequently a state of apathy.
The author of The Molecule of More believes that dopamine can help us persevere and make us want to keep going to maximise future resources. However, chasing only a dopamine rush can be misleading with out a morale compass. I will be writing about that in my next week’s curiosity box.
2 – The need for specific words.
A series I like to play in the background is Masterchef. Watching chefs turn fresh produce, poultry, meat, and seafood into tasty and amazing looking plates of food fascinate me. In their high-pressure and high-stress world, there is a greater need for specific words to describe what they do – including chopping vegetables.
- Baton: It is the most common cut you can find some do and the easiest to do. Batons have 1/2 inch sides and are 2 to 3 inches long. The method can be used for large chunky chips or for creating the foundation for other types of cuts.
- The batonette: It is half a baton. Vegetable batons are 1/4 inches on the sides and 2 to 3 inches long. Vegetables cut into batonettes can be eaten with dips, or sautéed for side dishes.
- Dice: You dice a vegetable into cubes of varying sizes: large, medium and small measure 3/4 inches, 1/2 inch, and 1/4inch on all sides respectively.
- Julienne: This cut gives a thinner batonnete and is most commonly used in stir-fries or salads.
- Mince: If you go finer on the dice and make the sides approximately 1/8th of an inch, the cut is called a mince.
- Brunoise: If you ensure your mince is uniform on all sides, the cut is called a brunoise. You brunoise vegetables for soups or for creating garnishes to go on top of your vegetables.
- Chiffonade: It is to use to create thin strips of leaves. You roll them into cigar-shaped cylinders and slice them fine to create thin ribbons of leaves.