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I don't read Chinese, but I do speak Science.
February 24, 2009 4:57 PM   Subscribe

I'm thinking of getting a tattoo of a bunch of organic molecules that represent positive traits, feelings, etc. More along the lines of serotonin representing happiness than ethanol or caffeine representing happiness. What are your ideas for emotions/ traits and their corresponding chemicals?
posted by i_am_a_fiesta to Science & Nature (21 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
Epinephrine/adrenaline = energy, optimism

Fun idea!
posted by SuperSquirrel at 5:01 PM on February 24, 2009


Laughing gas
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:06 PM on February 24, 2009


dopamine - love
posted by sunshinesky at 5:10 PM on February 24, 2009


ATP = Power?
posted by phunniemee at 5:13 PM on February 24, 2009


Helen Fisher has attempted to break down temperaments into 4 basic categories based on the levels of certain brain chemicals expressed in individuals. You might find this brief interview with her on her work and the chemicals she mentions in it interesting.
posted by sk381 at 5:15 PM on February 24, 2009


It's hard to map molecules one-to-one onto emotions, honestly. I mean, serotonin can mean "happy," "calm," "sleepy," "hallucinating wildly" or "vomiting," depending on which receptor it's binding with and at what doses and what else is going on in the brain at the moment.

Similarly, dopamine is sort of involved in love, I guess, but it's also involved in learning and memory, motivation, schizophrenia, cocaine addiction, aggression, orgasms, and a whole bunch of other stuff.

Putting a molecule on your body because some dude on the internet told you it means "love" is like putting a Chinese character on your body because some dude in a tattoo parlor told you it means "spirit." I'm not trying to hate on the project here — it's actually a really cool idea for a tattoo — but let's not oversimplify things, eh?
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:15 PM on February 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Sucrose, sweetness for a good nature?
posted by fearnothing at 5:16 PM on February 24, 2009


DNA = wisdom/intelligence

oxytocin = love

testosterone = strength
posted by euphorb at 5:18 PM on February 24, 2009


estrogen=strength, too :)
posted by juliplease at 5:21 PM on February 24, 2009


Tryptamine = Consciousness

(Serotonin in a tryptamine, btw.)
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:28 PM on February 24, 2009


Check out this blog that documents science tattoos!
posted by charmcityblues at 5:34 PM on February 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


acetylcholine = learning
posted by kldickson at 6:48 PM on February 24, 2009


THC- Hunger
posted by BrnP84 at 6:59 PM on February 24, 2009


The obvious symbol of peace, love, unity, and respect would of course be 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine.

I mean, really.
posted by Mars Saxman at 7:03 PM on February 24, 2009


My picks:

Dopamine (feeling of anticipation, and reward)
Serotonin (contentedness?)
Adrenaline
Insert-your-favourite Endorphin/endogenous-Opiod,-here
Oxytocin (bonding)
posted by Elysum at 7:10 PM on February 24, 2009


Benzene=unity, ambiguity. Either of the center representations would be cool (the bonds shift)
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 8:20 PM on February 24, 2009


You might also be interested in this Etsy shop -- same idea, but with jewelry instead of tattoos.
posted by natabat at 10:37 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


@nebulawindphone: you make a valid point. i understand that chemicals in our bodies effect us in many ways, and that there are external factors to our feelings, as well. the purpose of such a tattoo would be to have a symbolic reminder of the things my body is capable of, and to have a permanent and visual reminder of what is important to me. my simplification is intentional.

@natabat: that's totally where i got the idea initially!

@everyone else: thanks for your suggestions, and more are certainly appreciated!
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 11:28 PM on February 24, 2009


You might also be interested in this Etsy shop -- same idea, but with jewelry instead of tattoos.

I was bought one of those as a birthday present and it came with a little temporary tattoo!
posted by mippy at 3:44 AM on February 25, 2009


For archive purposes: I ended up with Serotonin and I'm extremely happy with it. Thanks, Metafilter, for your help!
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 6:47 PM on December 14, 2009


Nice! I'm glad my curmudgeonly little rant didn't change your mind about it, because that is one sweet tattoo. May its influence be more on the "happy" end of the spectrum (and "hallucinating wildly" if you're into that) and less on the "vomiting" end.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:30 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


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