Persuasive Technology: Irregularly Timed Rewards - Deepstash

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Has dopamine got us hooked on tech?

Persuasive Technology: Irregularly Timed Rewards

If a reward is provided on a regular basis, the brain takes the same as a given, but if the same reward is irregular, the brain is primed to check again and again about the same. This is the same technique that is used in slot machines at gambling casinos.

Social media has been tremendously successful as it has been able to exploit this desire and addiction towards social affirmation, with random, irregular rewards.

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Dopamine Functions

Dopamine is an important chemical messenger that plays several important roles in the brain and body:

  • It influences moods and feelings of reward and motivation: When&nbs...
Increase dopamine levels naturally

They are generally well regulated by the body, but there are a few diet and lifestyle changes you can make to boost your levels naturally:

  • Eat lots of protein
  • Eat less saturated fat
  • Consume probiotics
  • Exercise often
  • Get enough sleep
  • Listen to music
  • Meditate
  • Get enough sunlight
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.

Rewards and dopamine
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 re...

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.