Dopamine via Social Media
Many years ago, I was your typical Facebook user. I over-shared details of my life and engaged in petty debates. The amount of drama was too much so I stepped back and disengaged. I found, however, that I experienced anxiety. I wanted to go back on even though I knew it was bad for me. Then I caught the tail end of a radio show which discussed the link between Facebook and Dopamine. I then wondered… are people who over-share online Dopamine addicts?
According to the article “Has Dopamine got us hooked on tech?” Dopamine is a neurotransmitter. It helps us act to meet our needs and desires by anticipating how we’d feel after they are met. When a reward is anticipated, the need is met, then the action becomes a habit. The neurotransmitter is a part of that action/response relay within our brain. PsychologyToday.com goes further with the effects of Dopamine released via social media. Eva Ritvo M.D. explains that when people see something attractive online, “dopamine is released in the same reward pathway that is stimulated when we eat delicious food, make money, have sex, or use cocaine.” Karen North, a social media psychologist from the University of Southern California, suggests that when someone posts online and receives a response, it is the same as when the “pleasure sensors and chemicals in the brain get triggered at exciting moments in movies and songs.” When there are large levels of Dopamine, the brain is overstimulated and then generates addiction.
So what do we do? Do we stop all social media? I don’t think quitting is a realistic answer for everyone. I think that if we post positive and creative content online rather than insults, we’ll develop a healthier habit/addiction. I think it would be beneficial to share a creative outlet and a body of work rather than an account filled with awkward debates and insults.
Barkho, Gabriela. “Facebook Pioneer Fears Site Warps Minds. That’s the Point.” Inverse. 09 Nov. 2017. www.inverse.com/article/38299-facebook-sean-parker-brains. Accessed 22 May 2018.
Parkin, Simon. “Has dopamine got us hooked on tech?” Guardian News and Media. 04 Mar. 2018. www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/04/has-dopamine-got-us-hooked-on-tech-facebook-apps-addiction. Accessed 22 May 2018
Ritvo M.D., Eva. “Facebook and Your Brain.” Sussex Publishers. 24 May 2012. www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-beauty-prescription/201205/facebook-and-your-brain. Accessed 22 May 2018