Posted by: captainfalcon | September 6, 2009

Us Explained

I came across this interesting piece of pop psychology. While it, like everything in it’s genre (or on Slate), is no doubt riddled with distortions, this (includes a description that) sounds like everybody I know:

We actually resemble nothing so much as those legendary lab rats that endlessly pressed a lever to give themselves a little electrical jolt to the brain. While we tap, tap away at our search engines, it appears we are stimulating the same system in our brains that scientists accidentally discovered more than 50 years ago when probing rat skulls…Later experiments done on humans confirmed that people will neglect almost everything—their personal hygiene, their family commitments—in order to keep getting that buzz.

h/t Kenneth Anderson.

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Responses

  1. Very interesting:

    Actually all our electronic communication devices—e-mail, Facebook feeds, texts, Twitter—are feeding the same drive as our searches. Since we’re restless, easily bored creatures, our gadgets give us in abundance qualities the seeking/wanting system finds particularly exciting. Novelty is one. Panksepp says the dopamine system is activated by finding something unexpected or by the anticipation of something new. If the rewards come unpredictably—as e-mail, texts, updates do—we get even more carried away. No wonder we call it a “CrackBerry.”

    I never thought of that before, but I definitely feel a little jolt of excitement when I hear/see/feel the notification of new e-mail/text message/ whatever on my phone.


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