Arkansas Trucking Association

You are here: Home Article Archive Up Front- Inquiry, Dopamine, and the Rowing Machine

Up Front- Inquiry, Dopamine, and the Rowing Machine

DSCF7709 smallShannon Newton
President, ATA

It feels so good to be right. Neuroscientists say we get a little rush of dopamine when we read or hear news that matches our beliefs about the world and success.  

Recently while at the gym I made a flippant comment, in attempt to make a loss sting a little less, about how boys were supposed to win a particular challenge.  I believed it to be true, but I didn’t really know with certainty.  It seemed logical to me that longer bodies with superior upper body strength would be advantageous for a row challenge measuring meters rowed in a given time.

As not to dwell on the loss, I quickly moved on to the next station and a new topic of small talk. 

My friends at the gym are seemingly as competitive as I am, and one didn’t take too kindly to my remark that explained his win with a biological advantage.  Overnight he performed some independent research and was brave enough to confirm, in short distances, men consistently outperform women, covering more meters at a quicker pace for reasons similar to those I presumed. I was right. 

I can confirm that that dopamine feeling is multiplied when someone challenges our rightness, and the data backs it up.

However research is about much more than making us feel good.  It’s about asking smart questions and letting the answers guide us to informed destinations, even if those are uncomfortable.  Research includes challenging ideas, exploring myths, and even curiously navigating new areas of interest. 

I recently accepted a role on the American Transportation Research Institute’s Research Advisory Committee. Part of our responsibilities will be to develop and prioritize research proposals that address the trucking industry’s top challenges.

We all agree that the industry is facing no shortage of challenges, coupled with a technology revolution potentially impacting every aspect of our business.

Making the world and our industry better than it is today will require open minds, not rigid ones. We will have to be flexible and change our minds when our beliefs aren’t supported by the research. And that is okay.

Our association relies on ATRI’s research to shape our priorities and expend our resources.  It helps us to convey the size and scope of the trucking industry and inform policy makers about the issues facing our members.

So it is an honor to be part of the team that will now ask the questions and pursue the answers—even if those answers conflict with existing assumptions. Being right may feel good, but if we’re wrong, chocolate and exercise can do that too.

Contact Us

Arkansas Trucking Association
PO Box 3476 (72203)
1401 West Capitol Ave.
Little Rock, AR 72201

(501) 372-3462 | Phone
(501) 376-1810 | Fax

Our Mission

  • PROTECT the collective interests of trucking companies in the political and regulatory arenas.
  • PROMOTE the dynamics of trucking so that people have a better understanding of the link between America's primary freight delivery system and the standard of living they enjoy.
  • SERVE our members to help them to grow their business and their profits
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