Why video games are so addictive

Why video games are so addictive

Games are enticing because you might win but you might not. And video games do it so efficiently, because they ride the tide of computer technology. The balance between winning and losing is continuously adjusted, according to how well you’re doing, as measured in hits and misses, gains and losses, moment by moment. The sweet spot knows you, it finds you. It adjusts to you.

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The Sweet Spot: Where Technology Meets the Motivational Brain

nirandfar.com

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Rewards and dopamine

Our brains compute 3 things about reward: how much will we get, how soon will we get it, and how certain are we that we will in fact get it. 

And it’s when the probability of a reward hovers at around 50% that dopamine flow is maximal. When the probability of getting it is as high as the probability of not getting it — the point of maximum uncertainty. That’s what turns us on the most.

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Tech addiction may be real in some cases but is mostly fear-mongering.

Many studies linking technology addiction with mental health problems may be setting a false narrative and blaming technology for unrelated psychological problems.

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The reward system in our brain exists to ensure we seek out what we need. If eating nutritious food or being smiled at pleases us, we try to secure more of these stimuli. However, seeking pleasure can also result in people becoming addicted, indebted or overweight.

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The science of craving

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A new disorder

The World Health Organization officially added a new disorder to the section on substance use and addictive behaviors : gaming disorder

A gaming disorder is defined as an overly and uncontainable preoccupation with video games — the obsession results in significant personal, social, academic or occupational impairment for at least 12 months.

However,  the idea that someone can be addicted to a behavior, as opposed to a substance, remains contentious.

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Can You Really Be Addicted to Video Games?

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