Dopamine– are you all aware of this word? I bet many of you didn’t, me neither. Don’t you worry; we are going to talk about all of this.
First things first. Dopamine- is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that conveys signals between the brain’s nerve cells. Discovered by Arvid Carlsson and Nils-Ake Hillarp in 1958.
Initially, it was considered that dopamine is responsible for the brain’s “pleasure” systems which makes you enjoy things. Therefore motivates you to approach certain behaviors such as food, drugs and sex.
Now the latest research shows that instead of seeking pleasure, dopamine is also critical in causing seeking behaviors– which means it causes a person to want, desire, search and seek out.
It makes a person curious about ideas and nudges a person to search about them.
THE TWO SYSTEMS- WANTING AND LIKING:
From the view of the researcher Kent Berridge, there are two systems. One is wanting and the other is liking and these two are complementary. It is part of the wanting system. When you like something and feel satisfied. At that moment you pause your seeking, that is what the liking system is. However, the dopamine wanting system is the opposite and stronger than this, you tend to seek more than you are satisfied.
THE DOPAMINE LOOP:
Do you ever feel like you are stuck in an endless loop of scrolling? You want to stop but you cannot. Do you Google for looking something useful and then boom 30 minutes later you realize you have been searching around for a totally different thing for a long time now. Well, all of these are because your dopamine system is at work.
Let us make it more understandable with an example. Suppose you are using your Instagram, now your dopamine loop has become engaged. With scrolling photos, posts and headlines you are feeding your dopamine loop. All this makes you want more and there is even a possibility that you may not even feel satisfied. You just want more. This is what a dopamine loop looks like or feels like.
IS THERE A WAY TO GET OUT?
With each scroll, it becomes very hard to stop the dopamine loop. Yet the one way to stop is to make a counter-movement. A physical movement you do that becomes its own conditioned response.
For example, when you realize you are in a dopamine loop, immediately press the home button and place the phone face side down. If you can come up with a physical movement that becomes a conditioned response you can at least break the dopamine seeking-reward loop once it has started.
Or maybe just turn off the device altogether for a while.
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