I have been considering using a small amount of chocolate to reward myself for any behavior that I deem desirable, and perhaps a cigarette for completing the more onerous bits of work.
Chocolate releases endorphins, and possibly serotonin (does anyone know for sure?) And nicotene has similar effects (does anyone know what neurotransmitters nicotine targets?); either of the above would be suited to physiologically train any intelligent being to crave the chosen behavior/s.
Now, what makes something addictive? I can think of two factors off of the top of my head, but feel free to add to this.
1) The amount of pleasure recieved following the given behavior.
2) The amount of time that elapses (inversely correlated) between the behavior and the reward.
Both of these requirements can be "artificially" recreated by administering the drug immediately after the positive behavior is executed and realized.
Another note for anyone who is not familiar with classical conditioning:
If a behavior is conditioned successfully, and the conditioning stimulus is removed over time, an "extinction" of the conditioned behavior will occur. The brain will regard the relationship between the response and the stimulus as no longer relevant. However, this is not to say that constant reinforcement is required to keep a response conditioned. It is just as effective to supplant the conditioning stimuli with *nothing* for random intervals, provided that the brain is reminded of the stimulus from time to time.
I'm not a gourmand, and though I could rationalize ingesting copious amounts of chocolate in the pursuit of creating a "Better Me," I think it is only necessary to use as much chocolate as is required for me to taste it. And for my humble abnegation of eating more chocolate than is necessary for the experiment, perhaps I will reward myself with more chocolate .
All of our behaviors are ultimately driven by reward. Some find it rewarding to analyze; others, to compliment. Still others recieve joy from more perverse activities, and it is the case that the more often these behaviors are repeated, the more deeply entrenched into one's psyche they become. We condition ourselves thousands of times daily with our interactions with our environment. It seems simple enough to manipulate these conditions in a methodical fashion so that one may recieve her desired result.
In order to actually carry out these gambits, I would need clearly defined hypotheses and variables, as well as a structured routine. Routines are not my bailiwick, but if this idea piques a few people's interests then I would be happy to work out the details and perform the experiment.
Any questions or comments appreciated.