The science behind social media addiction
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The science behind social media addiction


We are all addicts, all hooked on a natural
chemical produced in our brains. We get a fix, experts say, when someone likes
our Instagram picture or the retweet notification pops up. It all goes back to something called dopamine,
which is found in lizard brains and in every animal up to homo sapiens, although humans
do have higher levels because we eat more meat and fish. This “drug” dispenser is pre-built into our bodies. What one clinical psychologist called the
Kim Kardashian of brain chemicals. It’s the reward and pleasure drug. Dopamine is linked to love, lust and sex. It’s involved with motivation, attention,
movement and addiction. It plays a role in just about everything that
happens in your life and brain. Too much dopamine can result in addiction
to whatever behavior triggered the increase. Here’s how it works. Technically, dopamine is a neurotransmitter. It’s a messenger, carrying information from
one neuron to another. That could be: “Oh my God, I just saw chocolate cake.” “I love this cake, and more would be even better.” Physiologically, dopamine could be a toxin or elixir. For instance: Secretions in the prefrontal cortex improve
your working memory. But it’s delicate. Too much or too little can damage memory. It allows you to focus and pay attention. Too little can trigger ADHD, even Parkinson’s disease. Drugs like cocaine and amphetamines allow
extra dopamine to remain in your brain longer than normal, resulting in heightened feelings
of pleasure and a need for more of the drug. It not only rewards us but makes us anticipate
future pleasure, like the first frosty bite of that second piece of cake. Big tech is well aware of how this works — it’s
the pleasure-pain-repeat cycle. The author of “The Hacking of the American
Mind,” who’s a medical professor, writes that He points out that tech can cause stress in
the brain, which can in turn lead to addiction. Here’s how that works: The stress shuts down
the prefrontal cortex, the “executive” part of the brain, which normally limits dopamine
and our sense of pleasure or reward. When the brain gets used to a higher level
of dopamine, it wants us to keep seeking out that addictive substance or habit for more. This is called the dopamine loop. Post something on Facebook, and chances are
friends begin to “like” or “comment” almost immediately. Send a text — getting a quick response can
be a short burst of ecstasy. Dopamine starts at “seeking” behavior in each example. Then you get rewarded, which makes you seek
more — to do it again. And again. It’s hard to stop. Chances are you have checked your email — or
at least thought about it — in the past few minutes. Or Twitter. Or both. That’s not technology knocking. It’s your brain. It’d like some dopamine — now.

One thought on “The science behind social media addiction

  1. only ones i see getting addicted are women, but that's because they by nature has spending compulsion addictions

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