The consumer/producer mindsets are incredibly variable and complex to define by hormones alone, but one simplified expression that differs greatly in each is the adrenaline/dopamine comparison.

By themselves these hormones can be generated from similar (or identical) actions, but the polarization comes fiercest in almost any public display of talent by an individual who is being watched by generally neutral bystanders.

For those who read me 10 years ago, you may recognize these, with some modifications:

  • The musician takes a risk to go on stage and entertain, using adrenaline reactions to challenge themselves to overcome the anxiety of stage shyness.  The crowd fantasizes about being that person on stage, using dopamine reactions to feel temporary symptoms of joy.
  • The athlete takes a risk of bodily harm and injury to go out on the field to entertain, using adrenaline to power their body away from the harmful outcomes.  The crowd fantasizes about being that athlete, using dopamine reactions to feel temporary symptoms of joy when “their” team scores a goal or accomplishes a play towards that goal.
  • The chef takes a risk to plan and prepare and cook and plate a meal, using adrenaline to overcome the conflicts of making every paying customer happy with the experience they’re paying for.  The foodie generates surges of dopamine from the well created and beautiful plate of calories, and may even generate more dopamine by snapping a photo to share on social networks.

Not all producer/consumer comparisons include this hormonal polarization, but the most popular ones tend to.  Dopamine as a reward for your behavior can be a buffet between an adrenaline rush fleeing from risky options into a soothing feeling of success for winning, or even attempting to win.  Adrenaline can also be harmful though in those who take uncalculated and unnecessary risks (such as speeding for the joy of speeding).

Both hormone reactions can become “addictive” in nature — but the adrenaline one typically provides the actor with the most attention by others, and attention by others tends to provide for the best financial or notoriety earnings later.