by Trevor Haynes
figures by Rebecca Clements

“I feel tremendous guilt,” admitted Chamath Palihapitiya, former Vice President of User Growth at Facebook, to an audience of Stanford students. He was responding to a question about his involvement in exploiting consumer behavior. “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works,” he explained. In Palihapitiya’s talk, he highlighted something most of us know but few really appreciate: smartphones and the social media platforms they support are turning us into bona fide addicts. While it’s easy to dismiss this claim as hyperbole, platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram leverage the very same neural circuitry used by slot machines and cocaine to keep us using their products as much as possible. Taking a closer look at the underlying science may give you pause the next time you feel your pocket buzz.

Never Alone

If you’ve ever misplaced your phone, you may have experienced a mild state of panic until it’s been found. About 73% of people claim to experience this unique flavor of anxiety, which makes sense when you consider that adults in the US spend an average of 2-4 hours per day tapping, typing, and swiping on their devices—that adds up to over 2,600 daily touches. Most of us have become so intimately entwined with our digital lives that we sometimes feel our phones vibrating in our pockets when they aren’t even there.

While there is nothing inherently addictive about smartphones themselves, the true drivers of our attachments to these devices are the hyper-social environments they provide. Thanks to the likes of Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and others, smartphones allow us to carry immense social environments in our pockets through every waking moment of our lives. Though humans have evolved to be social—a key feature to our success as a species—the social structures in which we thrive tend to contain about 150 individuals. This number is orders of magnitude smaller than the 2 billion potential connections we carry around in our pockets today. There is no doubt that smartphones provide immense benefit to society, but their cost is becoming more and more apparent. Studies are beginning to show links between smartphone usage and increased levels of anxiety and depression, poor sleep quality, and increased risk of car injury or death. Many of us wish we spent less time on our phones but find it incredibly difficult to disconnect. Why are our smartphones so hard to ignore?

The Levers in Our Brains – Dopamine and social reward

Dopamine is a chemical produced by our brains that plays a starring role in motivating behavior. It gets released when we take a bite of delicious food, when we have sex, after we exercise, and, importantly, when we have successful social interactions. In an evolutionary context, it rewards us for beneficial behaviors and motivates us to repeat them.

The human brain contains four major dopamine “pathways,” or connections between different parts of the brain that act as highways for chemical messages called neurotransmitters. Each pathway has its own associated cognitive and motor (movement) processes. Three of these pathways—the mesocortical, mesolimbic, and nigrostriatal pathways—are considered our “reward pathways” and have been shown to be dysfunctional in most cases of addiction. They are responsible for the release of dopamine in various parts of the brain, which shapes the activity of those areas. The fourth, the tuberoinfundibular pathway, regulates the release of a hormone called prolactin that is required for milk production.

Figure 1: Three dopamine pathways and their related cognitive processes. Most of your dopamine is generated deep in the midbrain, and it is released in many different areas across the brain. These areas are largely responsible for behaviors associated with learning, habit formation, and addiction.

While the reward pathways (Figure 1) are distinct in their anatomical organization, all three become active when anticipating or experiencing rewarding events. In particular, they reinforce the association between a particular stimulus or sequence of behaviors and the feel-good reward that follows. Every time a response to a stimulus results in a reward, these associations become stronger through a process called long-term potentiation. This process strengthens frequently used connections between brain cells called neurons by increasing the intensity at which they respond to particular stimuli.

Although not as intense as hit of cocaine, positive social stimuli will similarly result in a release of dopamine, reinforcing whatever behavior preceded it. Cognitive neuroscientists have shown that rewarding social stimuli—laughing faces, positive recognition by our peers, messages from loved ones—activate the same dopaminergic reward pathways. Smartphones have provided us with a virtually unlimited supply of social stimuli, both positive and negative. Every notification, whether it’s a text message, a “like” on Instagram, or a Facebook notification, has the potential to be a positive social stimulus and dopamine influx.

The Hands that Pull – Reward prediction errors and variable reward schedules

Because most social media platforms are free, they rely on revenue from advertisers to make a profit. This system works for everyone involved at first glance, but it has created an arms race for your attention and time. Ultimately, the winners of this arms race will be those who best use their product to exploit the features of the brain’s reward systems.

Reward prediction errors

Research in reward learning and addiction have recently focused on a feature of our dopamine neurons called reward prediction error (RPE) encoding. These prediction errors serve as dopamine-mediated feedback signals in our brains (Figure 2). This neurological feature is something casino owners have used to their advantage for years. If you’ve ever played slots, you’ll have experienced the intense anticipation while those wheels are turning—the moments between the lever pull and the outcome provide time for our dopamine neurons to increase their activity, creating a rewarding feeling just by playing the game. It would be no fun otherwise. But as negative outcomes accumulate, the loss of dopamine activity encourages us to disengage. Thus, a balance between positive and negative outcomes must be maintained in order to keep our brains engaged.

Figure 2: Reward prediction and subsequent dopamine activity. Unexpected rewards increase the activity of dopamine neurons, acting as positive feedback signals for the brain regions associated with the preceding behavior. As learning takes place, the timing of activity will shift until it occurs upon the cue alone, with the expected reward having no additional effect. And should the expected reward not be received, dopamine activity drops, sending a negative feedback signal to the relevant parts of the brain, weakening the positive association.

Variable reward schedules

How do social media apps take advantage of this dopamine-driven learning strategy? Similar to slot machines, many apps implement a reward pattern optimized to keep you engaged as much as possible. Variable reward schedules were introduced by psychologist B.F. Skinner in the 1930’s. In his experiments, he found that mice respond most frequently to reward-associated stimuli when the reward was administered after a varying number of responses, precluding the animal’s ability to predict when they would be rewarded. Humans are no different; if we perceive a reward to be delivered at random, and if checking for the reward comes at little cost, we end up checking habitually (e.g. gambling addiction). If you pay attention, you might find yourself checking your phone at the slightest feeling of boredom, purely out of habit. Programmers work very hard behind the screens to keep you doing exactly that.

The Battle for Your Time

If you’ve been a Facebook user for more than a few years, you’ve probably noticed that the site has been expanding its criteria for notifications. When you first join Facebook, your notification center revolves around the initial set of connections you make, creating that crucial link between notification and social reward. But as you use Facebook more and begin interacting with various groups, events, and artists, that notification center will also become more active. After a while, you’ll be able to open the app at any time and reasonably expect to be rewarded. When paired with the low cost of checking your phone, you have a pretty strong incentive to check in whenever you can.

Other examples highlight a more deliberate effort to monopolize your time. Consider Instagram’s implementation of a variable-ratio reward schedule. As explained in this 60 Minutes interview, Instagram’s notification algorithms will sometimes withhold “likes” on your photos to deliver them in larger bursts. So when you make your post, you may be disappointed to find less responses than you expected, only to receive them in a larger bunch later on. Your dopamine centers have been primed by those initial negative outcomes to respond robustly to the sudden influx of social appraisal. This use of a variable reward schedule takes advantage of our dopamine-driven desire for social validation, and it optimizes the balance of negative and positive feedback signals until we’ve become habitual users.

Question Your Habits

Smartphones and social media apps aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, so it is up to us as the users to decide how much of our time we want to dedicate to them. Unless the advertisement-based profit model changes, companies like Facebook will continue to do everything they can to keep your eyes glued to the screen as often as possible. And by using algorithms to leverage our dopamine-driven reward circuitry, they stack the cards—and our brains—against us. But if you want to spend less time on your phone, there are a variety strategies to achieve success. Doing things like disabling your notifications for social media apps and keeping your display in black and white will reduce your phone’s ability to grab and hold your attention. Above all, mindful use of the technology is the best tool you have. So the next time you pick up your phone to check Facebook, you might ask yourself, “Is this really worth my time?”

Trevor Haynes is a research technician in the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School.

For more information:

  • Tips for building a healthier relationship with your phone
  • A list of stories from NPR about smartphone addiction
  • A high-level primer on dopamine and how it affects your brain, body, and mood

66 thoughts on “Dopamine, Smartphones & You: A battle for your time

  1. A thought-provoking article, thank you. A couple of personal responses follow; use of the masculine pronoun is for brevity, and not intend to be discriminatory.

    “Programmers work very hard behind the screens to keep you doing exactly that.”
    As a Computer Science graduate, it does slightly irritate me how often “programmers” are held accountable for “socially undesirable” business outcomes. For example, contrary to what was reported in the press, programmers at Volkswagen did not specify the behaviour of vehicle emissions systems. A strategist proposed a design, management sanctioned its use, and programmers built and implemented it, in compliance with the design. If the programmer objects to the design on ethical grounds, then he makes his concerns known to his employer, or consults his professional body for advice. Strategy design and selection is not typically an area of the business in which programmers creates value.

    Very interesting that you raise awareness of Instagram’s alleged controlled release of rewards; this is a behaviour which I had anecdotally observed in recent months, so in some ways it is reassuring to receive confirmation.

    1. Thanks for the feedback Stephen. Totally fair comment on the programmer’s role – you are right that is primarily a business decision. Programmers should not be portrayed as the ones making these decisions, and that’s my mistake if that’s how it came off. Although they do consciously play a direct role in “hacking the brain”, so I would argue they are not innocent bystanders. If a programmer at Facebook or Instagram was ethically opposed what their company was doing, surely they could find a job elsewhere, no? I think we can agree that with the wrong incentive structures, good people are forced to do ethically questionable things, and the incentive structures surrounding these companies are problematic, at best. Regardless, I appreciate you reading the article, and taking the time to reply with your thoughts!

    2. thank you for writing this amazing article. I am participating in the GKC science and engineering fair, and I am using this article to wright a part of my paper. Wish me luck!

    3. Thanks for the truth. It’s a scarce commodity these days. But just like lab rats the truth is only allowed out in small random doses. The most f***ed up thing is, this makes very clear what CEOs of the megalithic Internet companies think about you, there customer. That you are just Algernon in digital form. Nothing but Data to manipulate for continued profit. At what cost? Our society is burning like Rome did. It was the uncheck greed, dishonesty, and selfishnes of the .1.

      1. I completely agree with Nick Drew. I predicted the loneliness and general weirdness of always being on your phone, texting someone while sitting next to someone else who you are supposed to be having a conversation with, back in 2007. (Well really before that when we had flip phones.) I took the last leap yesterday and removed my Facebook account. I am off of all social media. Back to the land of the living.

        1. Hi Suzy!
          I wandered into this article and comments section after watching the Social Dilemma. I’ve also decided to delete my social media accounts (Facebook and Instagram) on my birthday, November 10th, until I can be assured that I’m not actively being manipulated. I’m wondering how your journey is going…all my best to you, internet stranger.

      2. I liked you comment about Rome last days, life for the masses was bread and games (panem et circenses), and it might get much worse before a new civilization or a new dark age comes along. I hope and pray we will wake up and tame the monster quickly, keep our phones out of our bedrooms, and go back to face to face civilization… Although the mega corps might find out that covid increased their user base. I wonder what that will do.

        1. I Think Samsung galaxy S20 Is also good. Everything is good in this smartphone, but the size which is about 6.2 inches little big for me. Also Samsung has improved its sound quality in samsung galaxy S20 with 32-bit of 384kHz audio, which is good for a user. I also want to buy smartphone of galaxy S20 this month. BUT I am waiting for those future phones having 3d or 4d technology 😀

          Thanks for sharing such a nice information.

    4. To whom it may concern, This thing that I’ve been researching called TMS transcranial stimulation,has some how found its way into my life, an it’s been evasive to me in ways that I know are’nt supposed to go on.I’m telling you this because I don’t understand what they want. All I know is somebody programmed their software, to be able to manipulate and mimic sounds of alot of different animals,people, etc. I was an still am being harassed by whomever, an Thiers more than just one doing this to me. I’ve looked at some other things that could be the cause, like augmented reality, VR, Mixed reality. And the reason I think it’s transcranial magnetic stimulation is because of the energy waves that are hitting my head, an the evasive stuff it does like hurt my feet with some sort of microwave energy. Also they are always sexually doing things to me . And making it seem like it’s actually happening but in reality it’s not. It sounds bizarre but I swear it’s going on. Can’t stop it an aluminum foil hats etc, I can’t wear it because I had gotten extremely nauseated an through up. It could make me very hot, an fatigue, cold chills also occurr. Etc. They could have driven me crazy if I did’nt know my own self. I’m looking for some kind of way to have this stopped. An get some much needed time on my own, instead of feeling somebody what’s to do me harm. It started on,Dec.18, 2018, an has’nt let up to this day. Sat,August.8/2020. The exact time,was 12:25am. Started hearing what I thought was frequencies. Thank you, an I’m hoping maybe you have an answer to my issues. I’m fine now but who knows about later on?? Nonfiction,. I had to say that. Pretty far out there eh?? Technology is moving at an alarming rate.

    5. Very interesting, Thank you for your input. The showing of dopamine release and the science between business and screen time is kinda scary but cool in a way. As someone who owns social media, namely instagram it’s nice to know the reason for why I spend the time I do on the app. After reading this article I am a little more aware of the business and how it affects me. I am writing an outline for a speech im giving on this subject and this article helped me greatly. Screens are becoming more and more of a problem especially amongst my peers. because of this article maybe we can start analyzing the health to screen time affects correlation within our society today. Myself and my group members are going to forward this article to some friends and are thankful for the wonderful read, thank you!

  2. Wow. Your article touches base on a good amount of research I am doing for the North East Regional Honors Conference in regards to Classical Conditioning and tying that behavior theory to the way Facebook interacts with consumers. There was an app developer who created a program that would block notifications and consumers no longer found enjoyment in using the social media programs.

    Would it be possible to email me the works cited page as some of the sub-links are protected in a Harvard database?

  3. Dear Trevor,
    Thanks for this article. I am not a neuroscientist nor am I looking to become one. I want nonetheless to learn more. Could you please recommend a book or a literature review that would provide more teaching regarding the subject matter? I am looking for something informative but not expert level at the same time.
    I have background in life and material sciences if that helps.
    Kind regards,

    Youcef Chakib Hacene

      1. I was a bit irked at the self-promotion, but your work is very well-made and relevant! Just a heads up: your link is broken! (404 error)

  4. I started looking into this subject after learning to identify the symptoms of a dopamine bunk from Sapolsky’s lecture on depression… and then identifying said symptoms when looking at the FB feed… particularly around the time when “all you find is old stuff you’ve already seen” and get denied the dopamine-boost from finding something new and shiny on your FB wall…
    I noticed that too much FB lead me to a serious lack of motivation, drive and energy to do pretty much anything else… and after I started “budgeting” the time on it and blocking the newsfeed I would have a lot more drive to learn/do many more things on the days when I used little or no FB at all…
    Your article brings a lot of clarity on some of the underlying mechanisms, and also confirms some of my intuitions around the “Negative Prediction Error”. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Hi Trevor : Thanks for your insight. This explains to me the behaviour of people constantly using their smartphones even when they are physically in the presence of friends and family. I find this behaviour strange.

    My early exposure to cell phones and texting was at work as a construction supervisor and I was constantly inundated with negative communications – even angry communications. I experienced phantom cell phone buzzing even when I didn’t have the cell phone with me. So I developed a negative attitude to cell phones and I cringe whenever it rings or a text message arrives. My preference now is not to carry my cell phone with me wherever I go. I also avoid social media sites for similar reasons.

    I wonder if similar effect is contributing to obesity. Dopamine release from eating “fast” foods influences us to eat “fast” food again and probably in larger quantities. Do you have any thoughts on this ?

    1. Check out Dr. Robert Lustig’s work on addiction and food, especially his latest book “The Hacking of the American Mind” since it links the work of Tristan Haynes to sugar/processed food addiction. Very interesting!

  6. Thanks for calling this obsessive smart-phone use what it is: an addiction. My workplace, believe it or not, allows people to have access to their smart phones and other devices while supposedly performing their job duties (duties that require a high degree of critical thinking and analysis). This strikes me as insanity, but I think leadership takes the standpoint that it’s impossible to fight.

    1. Excellent article, thanks. Depth and detail much appreciated. Am struggling with time-wasting myself despite some knowledge of neurocognitive area. Pathways etc very helpful. There’s never been a bigger drug cartel in history yet we let them make millions off us while literally feeding every man, woman and child user a mega dose of addictive drugs daily, reducing the quality of our living and, critically, of our thinking. Time extreme measures were taken to force deactivation of algorithms (unless actively chosen by informed users) by Facebook, Google and Co. Dealing drugs is illegal, especially undisclosed.

  7. Thank you so much. Behind your every words bringing some thing important for present and future generation healthy and peace life. Science & Technology is need in every aspects but it cannot control the humanity so need to bring some solution in this matter. Certain powerful herbs, sounds, aroma bringing down such mass trapping systems. so we need your guide in this matter.

    1. Actually. Teens are addicted. When they don’t have their phones they start to break down and not know what to do, or if they don’t get to talk to their friends they start to feel “Depressed” or “Lonely”. Teens that think they need their phone 24/7 never see the outside world and enjoy the moment with their love ones before they are gone.

  8. Great article Trevor. quite insightful. I think, instead of diving into the semantics of arguing if these behaviours should be classified as addictions or not, we should acknowledge the subtle but serious effects these gadgets are having in the quality of our lives. Social media, needless to say, is a great communication tool that has, in many ways, re-inforced what we have come to call the “global village”. It is however, in our best interests to curb its negative effects (which cant be done if we persist in denial ) Companies lose millions in productivity on a daily basis because of distracted employees who cant resist fidgeting with their gadgets every 5 mins. Children lose the valuable connection (quality time devoid of technological distractions) with their parents…the list is endless! Granted, its not everyone who’s so dangerously hooked, but what becomes of humanity if those who have the power to effect change become innocent by standers? The nomarlcy of people’s lives has to be restored because “cyber zombies” will not be master performers!

  9. Trevor this is an interesting article and is the basis of one of my research work on “Customer Behavior can be altered when you introduce AI or IOT in Retail & Banking Industry”.

    If there is an ongoing work that I can contribute and learn will be more than happy to be engaged. I’m available at Rajesh.nandakumar@gmail.com.

    And thanks for those reading recommendations in the reading section. Appreciate the input from fellow readers.

  10. I have a 13 year old that only recently I allowed to use Snapchat. But as soon as I did, I regretted it! I saw a difference min behavior almost immediately. I monitor her phone and age appropriate apps, but it’s almost a second job in terms of time consuming
    (worthwhile of course). I cringe when I see a parent hand over their cell phone to a rowdy kid just to shut them off. Let’ not even get into the fact that so many parents don’t even set parental controls on those devices. It’s like handing the kid a loaded gun. It’s a shame that kids know how to use and manipulate the devices better than their parents in some cases. I call for parental training as an ethical mandate by the digital world, if we don’t educate the parents first, both parent and kid are headed down a rabbit hole that they will not be able to climb out of.

    1. You made the choice to allow her use of the app. With a smartphone you’d given her.
      Then you monitor the use quite obsessively.

      “An apple never falls far from the tree, unless it’s on a hill.” Good luck on having a grandchild.

  11. I’m sorry. I wasn’t t finished . I hit a button. So anyway I really enjoyed your article and it’s true people were always on there phones. And I didn’t even get on Facebook til 2017 and boy was I ignorant. But before that I couldn’t understand why people were so into there phones and enjoying themselves! But I’m 60 and I found out that when I had my phone in my hand I had a world of knowledge,! I went to libraries all my life I worked as a drywall finisher and painter were I usually worked alone and then i’ d go home , So im really no good at social apps. Plus some people are evil and thinks it’s funny watching you crash from repetitive sign ins and passwords. And stealing ones Facebook and emails and messages so there’s really no chance of having a social life They do when they start signing in social apps and pretend to be you or ruin your name and character . But I just good at getting over things pretty good and I always had a passion for learning things since I was a child. But anyway make a long story shorter. I love the fact that I can look up anything! WOW! So I’m on a very high dose of dopamine!! And now other people who were on their phones thru all the holidays, and social events, and family things are commenting to me their dislike of me with my face in my phone alot. But even thru all the hacking and cloning of apps and rediections I decided I was going to learn and thru that I found my passion again. Passion for learning about everything and hopefully finding others who feel the same way and are generous with there knowledge, perception and eagerness to put their words out cause I’m addicted to reading and learning about the world! And because I enjoyed your views and your readers commenting, and I being a shut in Thank You cause you are right about the natural dopamine flowing thru my Brain. Because of my phone! God bless you!

  12. Great article. I’m wondering if you can send a link or two that shows how the dopamine levels in the brain are measured? Your article assumes a lot about dopamine and how it moves about and how much is related to the various things we do, but to my knowledge, there aren’t any tests to show what dopamine levels in the brain are at all let alone before and after events we go through. Thanks.

  13. Hi,
    I’m writing a paper which talks about social media’s effects on the brain and social media addiction. I have been reading and hearing a lot of discussion about dopamine’s reward system and how it gets activated when you use social media and how this can be addictive, but I can’t find any scientific peer-reviewed articles on the topic. I absolutely love this article and want to quote from it, but I am apprehensive because it is technically not a peer-reviewed scientific research article like the ones you referenced. Would you consider this to be scholarly enough to use in a 3rd year university essay?

    Thank you!

  14. Any studies on how this is impacting the treatment of younger people (those under say 25 who have been exposed to these apps / sites since before puberty) that actually get addicted to “traditional” sources (alcohol, drugs, etc.) ?

  15. Smaller screens also reduce device’s capacity to hold our attention. Again, this has happened a very long time ago with BlackBerry’s, so it isn’t limited to iPhones and Android as well.

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  20. I am doing some research on dopamine and specifically on what types of stimuli seem to be especially increasing its levels and why.
    I am hearing some people being 100% sure that it’s dopamine increase responsible for people making certain choices, that not necessarily are good for them, although I cannot find any conclusive scientific backing that would somewhat exclusively point at dopamine. Is there anything else, you would recommend on the topic?

    1. Any stimuli that involves instincts ( food , sex , social interaction , fear , but one above all is novelty , more over its effect depends on how much your PFC iS developed

  21. The irony is that people with dopamine molecule tattoos have probably condemned themselves to minimum wage McJobs in coffee houses etc.

    If you say so.

  22. A Simple Neural Hack to end Distraction (a novel perspective from affective neuroscience)
    Distraction is hard to resist because it is an affective state, as it is embodied by increases in dopamine levels due to the novel outcomes implicit in distractive events. Dopamine adds transitory utility or value to moment to moment decisions and is harmful to effective decision making when it is not aligned with long term goals, as we well know by succumbing daily to social media, emails, and other distractors. The best way to eliminate distraction is to pursue meaningful activities that have more significant affective outcomes, or to induce greater positive affect by managing the unique ways incentive motivation works in the human brain. To demonstrate this latter point here is an easy procedure to increase meaningful behavior, accentuate positive affect, and eliminate distraction.
    Simply follow a simple resting protocol (mindfulness procedure is best for this), and simultaneously pursue or anticipate pursuing meaningful behavior (e.g. cleaning house, writing poetry, exercise, etc.). Do this continuously for standard sessions of a least a half hour and chart your progress. As a result, you will be more pleasurably alert, engaged, and incented to continue being productive and resist distraction. Neurologically, this is due to ‘opioid-dopamine’ interactions, or the fact that rest is pleasurable due to the induction of opioid activity in the brain. Meaningful activity on the other hand induces dopaminergic activity, which is felt as a state of alert arousal but NOT pleasure. Opioid and dopamine neurons are located adjacently in the midbrain, and when both are simultaneously activated will also co-stimulate each other, resulting in enhanced feelings of arousal and pleasure. Indeed, when rest is accompanied by highly meaningful behaviors (creating art, athletic achievement), pleasure and alertness are highly accentuated, resulting in ‘peak’ or ‘flow’ experiences. So, there is my procedure to increase productivity and reduce distraction, and all without inspirational screeds, lectures, books, or seminars, with the added benefit that you can prove or falsify my hypothesis for yourself, give or take an hour!

    This interpretation is based on the work of the distinguished neuroscientist Kent Berridge of the University of Michigan, a preeminent researcher on dopamine, addiction, and motivation, who was kind to vet the work for accuracy and endorse the finished manuscript.
    Berridge’s Site
    https://sites.lsa.umich.edu/berridge-lab/

    I offer a more detailed theoretical explanation in pp. 47-52, and pp 82-86 of my open source book on the neuroscience of resting states, ‘The Book of Rest’, linked below.
    https://www.scribd.com/doc/284056765/The-Book-of-Rest-The-Odd-Psychology-of-Doing-Nothing

    also:
    Meditation and Rest
    from the International Journal of Stress Management, by this author
    https://www.scribd.com/doc/121345732/Relaxation-and-Muscular-Tension-A-bio-behavioristic-explanation

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  24. Nicely explained. As the best practice, it is better-avoided smartphones and checking the notifications and social media for the first 2 hours after waking up. That will help to control the dopamine effect by smartphones throughout the day.

  25. Fantastic article , Thats the reason why companies like YouTube , Facebook are billions of dollars in valuation despite offering the public Their services for free , we live in a world of endless supernormal stimuli , ready to provide endless instant gratification , what worries me more is the effect of this on kids ( as their prefrontal cortex are yet to develop ) , and the effect of synaptic pruning , more over the deviation of the HPA axis ( due to the negative state ) causes the rapid degradation of dendrites in the prefrontal cortex ( whose main function is delaying of gratification ) also PFC has connections with nucleus accumbens thereby controlling the release of dopamine in response to any stimuli , as the phenomenon of high speed internet is quite new , it’s seriously effects are yet to come out .

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  30. There is an excellent episode from the Designed to Heal podcast featuring Dr. Anna Lembke, Ph.D, professor of psychiatry at Stanford University, where she discusses social media addiction and our need as a culture to “always stay connected”. The points she made include how these social media platforms were specifically designed to be addictive by their creators and how human psychology tactics were maliciously used in order to purposefully addict users. Anna recently contributed to the widely acclaimed Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma” where she warned about the dangers of our rapid-growing addictive behavior. I won’t spoil too much of the episode, because its PACKED full of great information, but I will say she strongly advises all social media users take a hard look at their online behaviors as well as hold themselves personally responsible for how they engage online and how that affects their mental health. Awareness that social media is a DRUG because it was DESIGNED to be addictive is the first step in helping to combat these addictive tendencies.

    Link to Listen:
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    YouTube Channel:
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  32. A similar thing happens with language. Use the right caring tone of voice, or the right hectoring tone and you can make a person accept any disadvantage. The tone of voice is addictive because it wakes up the dopamine. Meanwhile, although the action which accompanies it may disadvantage the hearer, the immediate dose of dopamine means the hearer doesn’t count the cost until later. All the most successful sales people have ‘that’ voice, as do successful politicians.
    Other words and phrases are designed to evoke a neutral reacion – e.g. expressions like ‘collateral damage’. When people hear that they don’t think of mangled bodies and burning corpses, they think ‘some damage but not much’. Then they think ‘that’s good’.

    Recently bought a very old Nokia brick. The fancy samsung is being demote – just for email when I’m out and about.
    Never liked spacebook, myface and instantgasm.

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