Why video games are so addictive - Deepstash

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The Sweet Spot: Where Technology Meets the Motivational Brain

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

The Sweet Spot: Where Technology Meets the Motivational Brain

https://www.nirandfar.com/2014/08/the-sweet-spot-where-technology-meets-the-motivational-brain.html

nirandfar.com

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Key Ideas

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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A new disorder

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

The term "addiction"

Addiction can include:

  • Addiction as a moral transgression, like excessive drinking or drug use.
  • Addiction as a scientific disease, which characterize alcoholism and drug addiction as biological.
  • Colloquial violation, which applies the term to almost any fixation. 

The idea that someone can be addicted to a behavior, as opposed to a substance, remains debatable.

Arguments against gaming addiction
  • Excessive gameplay is a symptom of a larger problem, like anxiety or depression.
  • The fear of possible addiction arrises from moral panic about new technologies, not scientific research or clinical data.
  • Making excessive gaming a disorder can harm the gaming industry by stigmatizing their products. 

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The reward system

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 ...

Desire and pleasure

In 1986, a discovery was made that dopamine did not produce pleasure, but in fact, desire. While dopamine makes us want, pleasure comes from opioids and endocannabinoids ( a kind of marijuana produced in the brain), which paints pleasure on good experiences.

Potential clinical application

We cannot explain away our minds by brain mechanisms. Brain mechanisms are part of our minds.

Understanding that desire and dread, for instance, share the same brain operations, could help ease schizophrenia symptoms by restricting a particular dopamine neuron that produces fear.

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Coffee As An Addictive Substance
Coffee As An Addictive Substance
  • Coffee is the world’s most popular psychoactive drug, with over 80 percent of American adults having it daily.
  • Quitting caffeine produces withdrawal symptoms like ...
How Coffee Affects Us
  • When we have coffee, it gets absorbed in our gut as well as in our bloodstream. As the chemical is soluble in water and fat both, it can easily enter the brain.
  • Adenosine, a molecule present in our brain which is remarkably similar to caffeine, is responsible for a feeling of tiredness.
  • Caffeine acts like a doppelganger and is able to fit in the receptors that adenosine fits, preventing any tiredness to occur for a few hours.
  • The surplus adenosine now floating in the brain signals that adrenal gland to produce and secrete adrenaline, which is also a stimulant.
Addicted To Coffee

The chemistry of the brain changes when a person takes a regular intake of caffeine, as it grows more adenosine receptors.

Eventually, it takes more caffeine to feel the effects, and as there are now more receptors, not having a stimulant results in ‘caffeine withdrawal headache’ and other symptoms due to the original molecule connecting to the increased number of receptors in the brain.

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