100 Things You Should Know About People: #8 — Dopamine Makes You Addicted To Seeking Information

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iphone with text message
Does the unpredictability of a text message trigger dopamine release?

Do you ever feel like you are addicted to email or twitter or texting? Do you find it impossible to ignore your email if you see that there are messages in your inbox? Have you ever gone to Google to look up some information and 30 minutes later you realize that you’ve been reading and linking, and searching around for a long time, and you are now searching for something totally different than before? These are all examples of your dopamine system at work.

Enter dopamine — Neuro scientists have been studying what they call the dopamine system for a while. Dopamine was “discovered” in 1958 by Arvid Carlsson and Nils-Ake Hillarp at the National Heart Institute of Sweden. Dopamine is created in various parts of the brain and is critical in all sorts of brain functions, including thinking, moving, sleeping, mood, attention, and motivation, seeking and reward.

The myth — You may have heard that dopamine controls the “pleasure” systems of the brain: that dopamine makes you feel enjoyment, pleasure, and therefore motivates you to seek out certain behaviors, such as food, sex, and drugs.

It’s all about seeking — The latest research, though is changing this view. Instead of dopamine causing us to experience pleasure, the latest research shows that dopamine causes seeking behavior. Dopamine causes us to want, desire, seek out, and search. It increases our general level of arousal and our goal-directed behavior. (From an evolutionary stand-point this is critical. The dopamine seeking system keeps us motivated to move through our world, learn, and survive). It’s not just about physical needs such as food, or sex, but also about abstract concepts. Dopamine makes us curious about ideas and fuels our searching for information. The latest research shows that it is the opioid system (separate from dopamine) that makes us feel pleasure.

Wanting vs. liking — According to Kent Berridge, these two systems, the “wanting” (dopamine) and the “liking” (opioid) are complementary. The wanting system propels us to action and the liking system makes us feel satisfied and therefore pause our seeking. If our seeking isn’t turned off at least for a little while, then we start to run in an endless loop. The latest research shows that the dopamine system is stronger than the opioid system. We seek more than we are satisfied (back to evolution… seeking is more likely to keep us alive than sitting around in a satisfied stupor).

A dopamine induced loop — With the internet, twitter, and texting we now have almost instant gratification of our desire to seek. Want to talk to someone right away? Send a text and they respond in a few seconds. Want to look up some information? Just type it into google. What to see what your friends are up to? Go to twitter or facebook. We get into a dopamine induced loop… dopamine starts us seeking, then we get rewarded for the seeking which makes us seek more. It becomes harder and harder to stop looking at email, stop texting, stop checking our cell phones to see if we have a message or a new text.

Anticipation is better than getting — Brain scan research shows that our brains show more stimulation and activity when we ANTICIPATE a reward than when we get one. Research on rats shows that if you destroy dopamine neurons, rats can walk, chew, and swallow, but will starve to death even when food is right next to them. They have lost the desire to go get the food.

More, more, more — Although wanting and liking are related, research also shows that the dopamine system doesn’t have satiety built in. It is possible for the dopamine system to keep saying “more more more”,  seeking even when we have found the information. During that google exploration we know that we have the answer to the question we originally asked, and yet we find ourselves looking for more information and more and more.

Unpredictable is the key — Dopamine is also stimulated by unpredictability. When something happens that is not exactly predictable, that stimulates the dopamine system. Think about these electronic gadgets and devices. Our emails and twitters and texts show up, but we don’t know exactly when they will or who they will be from. It’s unpredictable. This is exactly what stimulates the dopamine system. It’s the same system at work for gambling and slot machines. (For those of you reading this who are “old school” psychologists, you may remember “variable reinforcement schedules”. Dopamine is involved in variable reinforcement schedules. This is why these are so powerful).

When you hear the “ding” that you have a text — The dopamine system is especially sensitive to “cues” that a reward is coming. If there is a small, specific cue that signifies that something is going to happen, that sets off our dopamine system. So when there is a sound when a text message or email arrives, or a visual cue, that enhances the addictive effect (for the psychologists out there: remember Pavlov).

140 characters is even more addictive — And the dopamine system is most powerfully stimulated when the information coming in is small so that it doesn’t full satisfy. A short text or twitter (can only be 140 characters!) is ideally suited to send our dopamine system raging.

Not without costs — This constant stimulation of the dopamine system can be exhausting. We are getting caught in an endless dopamine loop.

Write a comment and share whether you get caught in these dopamine loops and whether you think we should use what we know about these systems to create devices and websites that stimulate them.

And for those of you who like research:

Kent C. Berridge and Terry E. Robinson, What is the role of dopamine in reward: hedonic impact, reward learning, or incentive salience?: Brain Research Reviews, 28, 1998. 309–369.

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Comments

178 responses to “100 Things You Should Know About People: #8 — Dopamine Makes You Addicted To Seeking Information”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Web Startup Group and Charlie Park, hrjn_rss. hrjn_rss said: Why our brains are wired to seek sex, food, and new tweets / HN posts.: Comments http://url4.eu/jnxx […]

  2. Casey Butler Avatar
    Casey Butler

    Thanks Susan, I got so much out of reading this. Made myself a page of notes and thoughts almost as long as your post! And it was definitely my dopamine system that drove me to your page.

  3. M Avatar
    M

    “According to Kent Berridge, these two systems, the “wanting” (dopamine) and the “liking” (opoid) are complimentary”

    Didn’t you mean ‘complementary’? Or do you get these two systems for free with a purchase of another system? :)

  4. admin Avatar
    admin

    M — Thanks … Great catch. (I’ve fixed it now)… I kind of like your definition of how they could be complimentary!

  5. Scott Conner Avatar

    Absolutely fascinating.

    Makes a lot of sense, and it excites me to see how a previous model (dopamine causes pleasure) can still work but be wrong when presented with new information. I figure this sort of thing reaches out with math, science, physics (especially physics), what we know about other people, what we know about our relationships, etc.

    And I’m sure getting the e-mail saying you have a comment on your blog has stirred your dopamine system ;-)

  6. […] Shared Dopamine Makes Us Addicted To Seeking Information. […]

  7. admin Avatar
    admin

    Thanks for writing in Dawn. I think there are a lot of people who feel the way you do. I guess I’d better write the blog on how to change habits soon… because that is what you have to do to break the dopamine loop. I’ll work on it for an upcoming post soon!

  8. […] Why Can’t You Stop? – So if “less is more” then why are you always wanting more choices? It’s part of that dopamine effect again. We find information addictive. It is only when we are confident of our decision that we stop seeking more information.  (see the post on 100 Things You Should Know About People: #8 — Dopamine Makes You Addicted To Seeking Information) […]

  9. Prasanna Avatar

    “Research on rats shows that if you destroy dopamine neurons, rats can walk, chew, and swallow, but will starve to death even when food is right next to them. They have lost the desire to go get the food.”

    Can you please share with me the citation? I’m having a hard time buying this.

  10. admin Avatar
    admin

    I used several sources of information for the article, but I think that Kent Berridge has done a lot of the recent work in this field. I would check out the article I reference in the post, or else search for his research on Google. He’s done a lot of studies on dopamine and rats.

  11. Mack McCoy Avatar

    Nice post! Thanks for the walk down psych. memory lane for me. My first thought was of good ol’ Pavlov and of course Skinner. Specifically, I was reminded of the Variable Ratio schedule because of how powerfully it drives responses and resists extinction. Gambling is the most often cited example, but many Internet activities may be analogous.

    This also reminded me of a great slate article by Emily Yoffe on the same topic. It’s well worth a read.

    Prasanna: Yoffe’s article cites as the Berridge paper for the “…rats whose dopamine neurons have been destroyed…” studies.

  12. Mack McCoy Avatar

    Sorry. I didn’t realize my URLs would be stripped. My comment read strangely now. :)

    The Emily Yoffe article is easily found by Googling “‘Emily Yoffe’ Slate Berridge” exactly as shown in the quotes.

    The Berridge citation I mentioned is in the second sentence of the thirteenth paragraph of Yoffe’s article.

  13. admin Avatar
    admin

    Thanks Mack for finding that. Yes, the Slate article is great and it is what got me searching out Berridge.

  14. Scott Avatar

    Great stuff, Susan

    But this article is a bit too short. I want more. Give me more.

    Scott ;)

  15. Karuna Avatar

    Fabulous! This has rejuvenated my love of biological psychology. Shared it on Twitter, in about 8 different Tweets. Still waiting for the replies to come in ::::tap tap tapping my fingers::::

    ;)

  16. […] reklama jacek przed chwilą Dopamine Makes You Addicted To Seeking Information. What Makes Them Click. whatmakesthemclick.net/…about-people-8-dopamine-m… […]

  17. Rachel Nabors Avatar

    Fascinating. So this generation will have a different brain chemistry than any other generation before. I wonder how this will change human behavior? Are there any studies that show what happens when animals are kept in a dopamine group permanently?

  18. Gareth Wong Avatar

    Many thanks for this post. loved it.

    so glad that after a year, I finally started using twitter in 08, as otherwise, I would have never come across gem blog/posts like yours.

    It also explains the ‘mechanism’ of why we love mystery box like JJAbrams explains!?

    http://www.ted.com/talks/j_j_abrams_mystery_box.html

    definitely a lot of food for thought.. now how do we ‘apply’ that into the business.. that would be an interesting artform.

    BR

    @GarethWong

  19. […] This post was Twitted by dancing_geek […]

  20. Darren Avatar
    Darren

    Love it…I’m going to reSEARCH into the matter!

    Seriously, its fascinating.

  21. Darren Thomas Avatar
    Darren Thomas

    Never heard of you before Susan, but I’m gonna subscribe to your rss now. I’m seeking more of your mind!

    Sincerely

    Darren.

  22. […] without it, so Boomers may use it and may be addicted to it like everyone else (see my blog post on Dopamine Makes You Addicted To Seeking Information), but they can more easily let it go and live without it. Interestingly, millennials have […]

  23. […] greed, fear, power and influence are common forces driving our analog world. It turns out there are more subtle mechanisms interested in driving biological life towards the […]

  24. gregorylent Avatar

    dopamine is a by-product, not a cause, of seeking .. it is consciousness embodied as self that does the seeking ..

    1. Jason Maitland Avatar
      Jason Maitland

      A lot of research shows that consciousness may in fact just be an illusion along with free will. I wouldn’t use something we can’t measure (like consciousness) as a scientific argument for how something works, that’s more philosophy than psychology…. No one knows if concepts like consciousness and the feeling of self are even linked, because one of those factors is doubted to exist.

  25. Conxa Rodà Avatar

    Loved this article, thank you. I think of Rachel about if this chemistry change will have some effect in future human behaviours.
    I fear I may be addicted to Twitter (to me it’s now the most useful source of professional info as well as networking. The day I don’t connect or tweet I feel something is missing ;)
    Conxa
    @innova2

  26. Bathroom furniture Avatar

    Keep up the interesting posts. I love to see keen bloggers!

  27. […] This post was Twitted by Ed_Reese […]

  28. Matt Howard Avatar

    Thanks for the brilliant post!

    The human desire to explore unpredictable circumstances and seek new information is powerful!

    In my opinion, it’s the root cause of the complicated behavioral phenomena known as distracted driving.

    My name is Matt Howard and i am the founder of a company called ZoomSafer. We’re the leading provider of innovative software solutions to ensure safe and legal use of mobile phones while driving. Uniquely designed for today’s highly mobile, hyper-connected, and dopamine-driven society, ZoomSafer offers practical and affordable solutions that prevent distracted driving for consumers, corporations, and government organizations.

    In other words, we automatically detect when you’re driving and we apply a policy to your phone that suppress alerts, minimize distractions, and protect you from your own dopamine.

    Help prevent distracted driving. Check it out for FREE at http://www.zoomsafer.com

    1. Chris Avatar
      Chris

      Matt-

      Your dopamine system drove you to try to make money off of this article. And you didn’t even know it!

  29. […] the real answer may be in our heads. These technologies are literally addictive, says psychologist Susan Weinschenk, fueling a “dopamine-induced loop” of seeking behavior and instantaneous […]

  30. […] This post was Twitted by insomniac19 […]

  31. […] This post was Twitted by Ridgehead […]

  32. Pieter Avatar
    Pieter

    It’s more the pathways/systems within the brain that rely on dopamine as a neurotransmitter than it is the dopamine itself. Dopamine is also used as neurotransmitter outside of these feedback systems.
    It’s the wiring pattern more than it is the electrons that matters.

    1. Chris Avatar
      Chris

      Thanks! High five for wanting to feel important!

  33. Sheldon Nesdale Avatar

    Interesting Susan.

    I just finished Jonah Lehrer’s book “How We Decide”.

    He says: “Dopamine is the reward your brain delivers to the pleasure receptors in your brain when you make a correct decision. Over time it trains your brain, and creates shortcuts. The purpose of dopamine neurons is to predict future events. Unpredictable events deliver 3 to 4 times the dopamine.”

    Do you agree with his definition?

    1. Chris Avatar
      Chris

      I really like that interpretation of the data. Those addicted to drugs often recall the initial high that keeps calling them back to using. This is likely that first punch in the face of dopamine. The same punch in the face that drives Homo Sapiens to seek information based on what was previously beneficial. Can’t wait to check out the book. Thanks Sheldon.

      1. Jason Maitland Avatar
        Jason Maitland

        I wouldn’t use drugs as an example, the same things happens when addicted to anything. Exercise, food, alcohol and drugs alike, however, somethings cause a chemical dependency (Some drugs), in which if you stop taking them you get sick and can possible die. Two very different types of addiction.

  34. Sheldon Nesdale Avatar

    Here’s a link to my notes on Jonah Lehrer’s book “How We Decide” if anyone is interested: http://www.marketingfirst.co.nz/blog/2009/12/how-we-decide-by-jonah-lehrer/

  35. Susan Weinschenk Avatar
    Susan Weinschenk

    Thanks for writing in Sheldon. Jonah Lehrer’s book is one of my favorites. I think that what Jonah says about dopamine is kind of correct. I believe that the latest research shows that dopamine is more complicated than we think. And after reading some of the research articles I’m convinced that the seeking behavior that it causes is probably some of the most significant effects of dopamine.

  36. Jeff Avatar
    Jeff

    Dopamine made me do this: Research shows rats starve sans dopamine receptors. Go to the website for the full Berridge research article at……
    http://www.lsa.umich.edu/psych/research&labs/berridge/publications/Berridge&RobinsonBrResRev1998.pdf ……and do a search for the word…starve

  37. […] Weinschenk presents 100 Things You Should Know About People: #8 — Dopamine Makes You Addicted To Seeking Information posted at What Makes Them […]

  38. […] know what that is, you’re pretty old!) to those ancient days of the early 1990s. Also, there is neurological evidence indicating that this new media activates the same reward centers in the brain as do drugs. That […]

  39. […] know what that is, you’re pretty old!) to those ancient days of the early 1990s. Also, there is neurological evidence indicating that this new media activates the same reward centers in the brain as do drugs. That […]

  40. […] what that is, you’re pretty old!) to those ancient days of the early 1990s. Also, there is neurological evidence indicating that this new media activates the same reward centers in the brain as that of drugs. […]

  41. Barry Avatar
    Barry

    Fascinating.

    I’ve been designing technology for 30 years since my Psychology degree and only recently realised how fundamentally that background informs the way I approach design and what I value in it.

    I found myself explaining the lure of social media to a friend (of my own generation) only this week and resorting to that little lift (or drop) we all get when we broach our inbox (according to whether it’s brimming or empty) as the best pointer

    The effect on my kids generation is clearly even more pronounced by a couple of orders of magnitude. Twitter, Facebook – and whatever comes next – now ARE the mainstream and starting to fulfil the potential for change that everyone got so excited about in the run up to the Internet bubble – and then lost interest when it burst. This only hid the change and delayed it a bit. Global recessionary forces are changing that. Those who understand these drives (intuitively and academically) will shape not just the web or the Internet but the future of human society and civilization.

  42. […] This post was Twitted by usable_brand […]

  43. […] This post was Twitted by BenSykes […]

  44. […] This post was Twitted by neal_barber […]

  45. Jessie Avatar
    Jessie

    This article was riveting but you lost major points by giving every symptom BUT NO RELIEF. I am in a desperate dopamine loop and want to stop but can’t seem to do it. Why on earth would you leave us hanging. FINISH the story by offering some assistance for the rats who would very much like to stop drooling and seeking and seeking and drooling

  46. jessie Avatar
    jessie

    Natural way to regulate and/or balance your dopamine
    http://www.medhelp.org/user_journals/show/14818

  47. […] On the heels of last night’s post, I saw this older article come across Twitter entitled “100 Things You Should Know About People: #8 — Dopamine Makes You Addicted To Seeking Information”. Apparently, it would appear that librarians are not simply the kind, educated information […]

  48. […] Dopamine makes you addicted to seeking information […]

  49. ARTICLE: DNT TXT & DRV: The mobile industry must lead the way – PEOPLE CONNECTING PEOPLE….CONNECTING LIFE!

    […] that our phones and the information we access through them are genuinely addictive. Psychologist Susan Wienshenk claims that we get caught up in an addictive dopamine loop when we use our phones to access […]

  50. Chris Hayes Avatar
    Chris Hayes

    Isn’t the writing of these comments also tied in to the dopamine system? “Will I get a response? Will I get a response?…”

    1. Chris Avatar
      Chris

      But Chris, you too wrote due to your dopamine system. Don’t respond or mine will and we’ll be caught in an infinite regress of dopaminergic warfare.

  51. […] Susan Weinschenk puts the blame for our obsession on dopamine: [T]he latest research shows that dopamine causes seeking behavior. Dopamine causes us to want, […]

  52. Tom Turnbull Avatar

    The genius of Zynga’s FarmVille is that it taps into these impulses.
    .-= Tom Turnbull´s last blog ..iPhone app short list – it’s pretty short… =-.

  53. So Important to Social Media Next Year you Needed to Know Now!!! « The Octopus Solution

    […] the real answer may be in our heads. These technologies are literally addictive, says psychologist Susan Weinschenk, fueling a “dopamine-induced loop” of seeking behavior and instantaneous […]

  54. Not Waving But Drowning? Is it possible to Overdose on Social Media? | testbed

    […] In the meantime, different kinds of net addiction have been described in psychology journals. Cyber-relational addiction relates to excessive involvement in online relationships, Net Compulsions means the inability to stop activities like shopping and gambling, excessive surfing can spark Information Overload. As to why people get hooked, neither Cowen nor a number of researchers have many answers, but Susan Weinschank, PhD says it’s all about dopamine. […]

  55. […] usually encourages another, and users often get caught in a “dopamine induced loop,” according to psychologist Susan Weinschenk, author of the book “Neuro Web […]

  56. Programmer Dude Avatar
    Programmer Dude

    Fascinating read–delighted to find this website (linked from an MSNBC Red Tape article).

    This puts my instinctive revulsion of Twitter in a new light and may explain why my cell phone is usually off (I only carry it for emergencies) and why I *usually* avoid blogs.

    Or maybe I’m just a hardcore Luddite. ;-)

  57. […] In the meantime, different kinds of net addiction have been described in psychology journals. Cyber-relational addiction relates to excessive involvement in online relationships, Net Compulsions means the inability to stop activities like shopping and gambling, excessive surfing can spark Information Overload. As to why people get hooked, neither Cowen nor a number of researchers have many answers, but Susan Weinschank, PhD says it’s all about dopamine. […]

  58. Kellie Avatar
    Kellie

    I love reading up on information online. I must have plenty of dopamine.

  59. Andreas Avatar

    Hi Susan. I’m a little late to the game here but I was wondering if you could comment on some criticism to the whole dopamine – information link I encountered over at MindHacks? The critique, I think, is quite compelling. Then again, so are the arguments _for_ the motion ;-)

    “Desperately Seeking Something” from MindHacks
    http://mindhacksblog.wordpress.com/2009/08/16/desperately-seeking-something/

    Your thoughts are much appreciated.

    Thanks.

  60. Lachyw Avatar
    Lachyw

    Yeargh, now I just have to go and learn about “variable reinforcement schedules”! :P

  61. Raymon Slaboda Avatar

    I just identified your webpage on Ask Jeeves, a really excellent study.

  62. Online Marketing Specialist Avatar

    Hi Susan,

    I was delighted to find your article. I’m preparing research into a phenomenon known as ‘website stickiness’ and examining the methods employed by successful websites to keep their users stimulated and engaged for increasingly long durations – the social networks have this down as a fine art! It’s great to see someone like yourself covering this topic from a neuro-scientific perspective – I have ordered a copy of your book on Amazon and look forward to reading it.

    R

  63. […] Am I part of the check-in culture, or am I now so bored with life, I can’t stand in line at a concert without reading my tweets? Or is it fueling the  “seeking”? […]

  64. […] Am I part of the check-in culture, or am I now so bored with life, I can’t stand in line at a concert without reading my tweets? Or is it fueling the  “seeking”? […]

  65. Karen Avatar
    Karen

    Great article! Have you written any articles advising about how to get out of the dopamine loop/spend time on the internet more productively? Now I have recognised that some of my internet habits are not very healthy/time-wise, I want to improve the way I use my time online.

  66. Susan Weinschenk Avatar
    Susan Weinschenk

    Hi Karen,

    Thanks for writing in. You asked if I’ve written any posts about how to break a dopamine loop. I haven’t written that specifically, although this post about not multi-tasking: http://www.whatmakesthemclick.net/2009/11/04/7-strategies-to-replace-multi-tasking/ has relevant information. What you need to do is break the loop, which means going “cold turkey” sometimes… i.e., spend some time every day with the computer and cell phone and other devices totally turned OFF and in another room. Or they are inside and you go outside. If you spend a few hours a day totally offline that should help break the loop.

    Susan

  67. Serrurier Avatar

    Nice read. I found your article on facebook and i have your article bookmarked on my personal read list!
    I’m a fan of your site. Keep up the great work

  68. 47: You Want More Choices and Information Than You Can Actually Process « Twisted Psychology

    […] Why Can’t You Stop? – So if “less is more” then why are you always wanting more choices? It’s part of that dopamine effect again. We find information addictive. It is only when we are confident of our decision that we stop seeking more information.  (see the post on 100 Things You Should Know About People: #8 — Dopamine Makes You Addicted To Seeki…) […]

  69. Wikisteff Avatar
    Wikisteff

    Hey, Susan!

    I’m very interested in this research: do you know if there is quantitative data available on the reinforcement and reward systems as a function of schedule, experience, etc.? I want to build me some (wildly approximate) models for prediction purposes, and I’m only equipped with what I got from my two psych classes on the topic, which are more qualitative.

    Thanks!
    Steff

  70. […] “100 Things You Should Know About People: #8 — Dopamine Makes You Addicted To Seeking Information” – Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D. – What Makes Them Click […]

  71. Jack Avatar

    Ayurveda, the several thousand year old system of medicine from India, has many suggestions on how to re-sync our physiology and psychology to the rhythms of nature. This, plus meditation and yoga, allows us to find the source of happiness deep within and unhook from the cycle of seeking.

  72. donna sheridan Avatar
    donna sheridan

    This aamazing post..thans for sharing thes cool stuff…Compulsions means the powerlessness to stop actions like shopping and gambling. extravagant surfing can spark Information Overload.

  73. […] every time we get something interesting in our email inbox; every time we get a retweet, we get a squirt of dopamine in our […]

  74. […] every time we get something interesting in our email inbox; every time we get a retweet, we get a squirt of dopamine in our […]

  75. Fred Stone Avatar

    You wanted to know how to fix it. Since 1987 Neu-Becalm’d has been doing just that, repairing brain chemistry through precursor loading. Providing the brain enough raw materials to keep up with the demand from this overstimulation.

  76. Andrew Avatar

    Thank you for sharing your excellent ideas.

  77. Johnathan N. Dean Avatar
    Johnathan N. Dean

    Thank you for sharing brilliant ideas. 100 you should know about people! Dopamine make you addicted in seeking information and ideas. Nice post.

  78. Glenn Friesen Avatar

    If we’re in a dopamine loop, shouldn’t my dopamine release for tasks eventually dull, compared to a situation where I was outside the loop?

  79. […] without it, so Boomers may use it and may be addicted to it like everyone else (see my blog post on Dopamine Makes You Addicted To Seeking Information), but they can more easily let it go and live without it. Interestingly, millennials have […]

  80. […] four items at once #28/#60 Some types of mental processing are more challenging than others #53/#08 Unpredictability keeps people searching #92/#10 People want more choices and information than they can […]

  81. Social Media: The Pursuit of Happiness -addiction research, alcohol drugs, check, dopamine, drug and alcohol addiction, drugs and sex, form, information, Media, social networking sites

    […] our retweets, likes and +1s. It’s a constant search for information. The problem, as Susan Weinschenk writes, is that the speed of the Internet provides instant gratification and as a result creates a […]

  82. […] our retweets, likes and +1s. It’s a constant search for information. The problem, as Susan Weinschenk writes, is that the speed of the Internet provides instant gratification and as a result creates a […]

  83. […] our retweets, likes and +1s. It’s a constant search for information. The problem, as Susan Weinschenk writes, is that the speed of the Internet provides instant gratification and as a result creates a […]

  84. […] our retweets, likes and +1s. It’s a constant search for information. The problem, as Susan Weinschenk writes, is that the speed of the Internet provides instant gratification and as a result creates a […]

  85. Why Brands Need Friends – Not Fans – on Facebook | Stu Haugen

    […] Susan Weinschenk applies psychology to understand how people think, work and relate. One of her posts discusses user addiction to Facebook status updates and News Feed posts. These behaviors are fueled […]

  86. Why Brands Need Friends – Not Fans – on Facebook | WebUp

    […] Susan Weinschenk applies psychology to understand how people think, work and relate. One of her posts discusses user addiction to Facebook status updates and News Feed posts. These behaviors are fueled […]

  87. Why Brands Need Friends – Not Fans – on Facebook « Fronteira sem Limites

    […] Susan Weinschenk applies psychology to understand how people think, work and relate. One of her posts discusses user addiction to Facebook status updates and News Feed posts. These behaviors are fueled […]

  88. Why Brands Need Friends – Not Fans – on Facebook | Brian's Blog Site

    […] Susan Weinschenk applies psychology to understand how people think, work and relate. One of her posts discusses user addiction to Facebook status updates and News Feed posts. These behaviors are fueled […]

  89. – surge-protector-review

    […] Susan Weinschenk applies psychology to understand how people think, work and relate. One of her posts discusses user addiction to Facebook status updates and News Feed posts. These behaviors are fueled […]

  90. […] Susan Weinschenk applies psychology to understand how people think, work and relate. One of her posts discusses user addiction to Facebook status updates and News Feed posts. These behaviors are fueled […]

  91. […] Susan Weinschenk applies psychology to understand how people think, work and relate. One of her posts discusses user addiction to Facebook status updates and News Feed posts. These behaviors are fueled […]

  92. […] Susan Weinschenk applies psychology to understand how people think, work and relate. One of her posts discusses user addiction to Facebook status updates and News Feed posts. These behaviors are fueled […]

  93. […] Susan Weinschenk applies psychology to understand how people think, work and relate. One of her posts discusses user addiction to Facebook status updates and News Feed posts. These behaviors are fueled […]

  94. […] Susan Weinschenk applies psychology to understand how people think, work and relate. One of her posts discusses user addiction to Facebook status updates and News Feed posts. These behaviors are fueled […]

  95. […] Susan Weinschenk applies psychology to understand how people think, work and relate. One of her posts discusses user addiction to Facebook status updates and News Feed posts. These behaviors are fueled […]

  96. […] Susan Weinschenk applies psychology to understand how people think, work and relate. One of her posts discusses user addiction to Facebook status updates and News Feed posts. These behaviors are fueled […]

  97. […] Susan Weinschenk applies psychology to understand how people think, work and relate. One of her posts discusses user addiction to Facebook status updates and News Feed posts. These behaviors are fueled […]

  98. […] Susan Weinschenk applies psychology to understand how people think, work and relate. One of her posts discusses user addiction to Facebook status updates and News Feed posts. These behaviors are fueled […]

  99. […] Susan Weinschenk applies psychology to understand how people think, work and relate. One of her posts discusses user addiction to Facebook status updates and News Feed posts. These behaviors are fueled […]

  100. […] Susan Weinschenk applies psychology to understand how people think, work and relate. One of her posts discusses user addiction to Facebook status updates and News Feed posts. These behaviors are fueled […]

  101. […] Susan Weinschenk applies psychology to understand how people think, work and relate. One of her posts discusses user addiction to Facebook status updates and News Feed posts. These behaviors are fueled […]

  102. […] Susan Weinschenk applies psychology to understand how people think, work and relate. One of her posts discusses user addiction to Facebook status updates and News Feed posts. These behaviors are […]

  103. Bob Ragland Avatar

    Knowledge is power. Dopamine is maybe one of the things that drives me to paint and paint some more.
    It would be something to get buyers to be addicted
    to Dopamine to buy art.

  104. […] found it really hard, the first day or two, which I’m sort of embarrassed to admit. But it’s a common problem. (That article, by the way, is fascinating. It tries to explain the compulsion to check Facebook, […]

  105. […] Susan Weinschenk applies psychology to understand how people think, work and relate. One of her posts discusses user addiction to Facebook status updates and News Feed posts. These behaviors are fueled […]

  106. […] for something totally different than before? These are all examples of your dopamine system at work.Via http://www.whatmakesthemclick.net Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

  107. Dopamine Fiend Avatar
    Dopamine Fiend

    This is how I lose whole days. In a row. And can’t sleep at night. I was going to get offline until I saw this article, and I just HAD to read it. My reward is that I now know that my internet addiction is an addiction to the Dope.

    1. linda Avatar
      linda

      LOL I guess I’m on dope too!

  108. sunghun Avatar
    sunghun

    very facinating….
    how does endorphin play in this?
    I thought endorphine is the brain chemical that makes u happy.

  109. […] there’s your brain chemistry, for one.  It may be the chemical dopamine that leads us to seek out that perpetual ego-boost that comes from reading a new email, instant […]

  110. […] addictive quality of technology appears to go deeper than just psychological dependence. There is emerging evidence indicating that our interaction with technology produces the same neurochemical reaction—a burst […]

  111. Dave Diggle Avatar

    When developing professional athletes we utilise this dopamine stimulation and reward seeking process to create sustained momentum.

    This practice can be both profound for the athlete and yet precarious to manage. Athletes are hungry for continouse stimulation and are constantly pushing their boundaries, by working with them to design their rewards and for them to almost taste it keeps the brain seeking.

    Dave

  112. olivia Avatar
    olivia

    We are currently finding how easy it is to become caught up in the dopamine cycle when on Pinterest! Many of us who lose time when on Pinterest agree with your article.

  113. vishal w Avatar
    vishal w

    can u give me the data of how this research was carried out? the method used for study? or is it just an asumption?

  114. Susan Weinschenk Avatar
    Susan Weinschenk

    Vishal,

    I suggest you check out Berridge’s work. I gave a reference in the article. You can read at his website about the research he did.

  115. Mox Avatar

    This is incredible. Thank you for posting this. EVERYONE needs to be aware of this.

  116. […] chance again today. It's a theory on why twitter, texting, and slot machines are so damn addictive: Dopamine Loops Certainly money making potential here for people willing to exploit this […]

  117. Philip Ludikar Avatar

    Hi,

    I am going to be a dissenting voice. I think Kent Berridge is on the wrong track.

    He is almost certainly correct in believing “liking” and “wanting” to be distinct feelings. But as the link given by Andreas above points out, there remain unanswered questions about “wanting”. Why would information gathering lead to wanting? And if dopamine causes wanting, how does this wanting motivate?

    Interestingly, the experimental results can be interpreted just as successfully in another way. Kent Berridge assumes that fixed concentrations of dopamine are responsible for certain feelings. If instead we imagine that changes in dopamine concentration are responsible, we arrive at a more satisfying model. According to this model rises in dopamine levels cause pleasant or pleasurable feelings; falls cause unpleasant or painful feelings.

    If you smell some great aroma from a bakery, at first your dopamine levels go up and then, as must be, they come down again. When your dopamine rises, you feel a pleasant sensation which we call “liking”. When it falls, you feel a slightly unpleasant sensation which we call “wanting”. Together the liking and the wanting make you go into the shop and buy some pastry.

    One plus for this hypothesis is that it explains how wanting motivates. A “want” is proposed to be an unpleasant feeling, a pain. When we have a pain, we are motivated to do things to get rid of the pain.

    If it seems unlikely that a want is a pain, think again. If you want something very badly, it becomes a longing – which is without doubt a painful feeling. And if you have a headache, you also have a want. You want the headache to stop.

    The model also gives a clue as to how our feelings are regulated. This is because it is a dynamic model – that is, involving change. (In contrast Berridge´s model is static.) So it is easy to imagine how changes in dopamine levels result in changes in the intensity of our feelings.

    But there isn´t enough space to discuss this in depth here. Have a look instead at “Is Kent Berridge wrong?” on my blog http://philipludikar.com/the-guess-worker.

  118. Lara Avatar

    I don’t drop a great deal of responses, but I looked at a bunch of comments on 100 Things You Should Know About People: #8 – Dopamine Makes You Addicted To Seeking Information | Weinschenk Institute, LLC. I do have some questions for you if you do not mind. Could it be just me or do some of the comments look as if they are coming from brain dead people? :-P And, if you are writing at other online sites, I would like to follow you. Would you post a list of the complete urls of your shared pages like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

  119. […] Twitter, and texting. – Slate Magazine The role of dopamine in social media – The Social Enterprise 100 Things You Should Know About People: #8 — Dopamine Makes You Addicted To Seeking Informati… Reply With Quote   « You Know You're An INTP When… | […]

  120. casino online Avatar

    Wonderful website you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any message boards that cover the same topics talked about here?
    I’d really like to be a part of community where I can get suggestions from other experienced individuals that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Thanks!

  121. Mold Removal Los Angeles Avatar

    A round of applause for your article.Much thanks again. Cool.

  122. […] Internet can ensnare you in a dopamine loop since it makes the process of reward-seeking so quick and easy.  Before you know it, you have […]

  123. […] suspect this is dopamine addiction to information. The large majority of the time when I’m awake late at night, I’m on the damn computer. […]

  124. Michael Troy Avatar
    Michael Troy

    Is the dopamine loop making people anxious? Combined with multitasking do we stand a chance in this modern world or should we just book into a clinic now. I would like to develop an app that would cut down people’s use of twitter, smart phones and emails. I fear though the dopamine addicts would turn on me

  125. […] how the misuse of technology can screw with attention span and deep thinking skills. How the use of social media can be addictive. Let’s be clear. I am a firm believer of using technology as a part of everyday life, of how […]

  126. leisha Avatar
    leisha

    haha im not sure this article was effective in warning me, all it did was make me immediately switch to google a research dopamine :)

  127. […] Internet can ensnare you in a dopamine loop since it makes the process of reward-seeking so quick and easy. Before you know it, you have […]

  128. […] Internet can ensnare you in a dopamine loop since it makes the process of reward-seeking so quick and easy. Before you know it, you have […]

  129. […] Internet can ensnare you in a dopamine loop since it makes the process of reward-seeking so quick and easy. Before you know it, you have […]

  130. […] Internet can ensnare you in a dopamine loop since it makes the process of reward-seeking so quick and easy. Before you know it, you have […]

  131. Susan Avatar
    Susan

    This is a great article, but I have a few questions. If you are an internet addict, does this mean you have too much dopamine and it drives you to search for information? or not enough dopamine, so you seek the buzz of searching?

    I’ve been researching amino acid and other supplement therapy for ADHD and I totally have an internet/search addiction.

    Thanks!

    Best regards,

    Susan

  132. Tsar Avatar

    Dopamine means life

  133. […] It only makes the urge to check again more compelling: the next time could be rewarded! Yeah, dopamine plays a role in there. Understand how your brain works so you’re not a slave to your […]

  134. DONA Avatar

    thnx i’m verry intrested in this topic !!
    but if seeking information means curiosity and curiosity is one major caracteristic of human intellegence so does this mean that dopaminic system is involved in intellegence means that those people with high IQ have a bigger renforcement of this neurologic system or not?!
    thnx again :)

  135. Gauri Avatar
    Gauri

    Susan,

    Where does science stand on this today?

  136. […] psychologist Susan Weinschenk explained in a 2009 article, the hormone and neurotransmitter dopamine does not cause people to experience […]

  137. […] psychologist Susan Weinschenk explained in a 2009 article, the neurotransmitter dopamine does not cause people to experience pleasure, but […]

  138. […] psychologist Susan Weinschenk explained in a 2009 article, the neurotransmitter dopamine does not cause people to experience pleasure, but […]

  139. mary carpenter Avatar

    (I write the “well-being” section of mylittlebird.com)

    Probably a silly question…
    I was so impressed by your piece on dopamine, but can’t figure out where to find a list of similar pieces, a table of contents for your blog items — could you please tell me how to do this?
    (I tried searching “100 things” — but because I am mostly interested in certain topics — research on the brain, behavior, etc. — and not others, like self-improvement or business strategies, would like to be able to scan a list of what else you have written about before signing up for anything.)

    thanks, Mary

    1. Susan Weinschenk Avatar
      Susan Weinschenk

      Thanks for writing in and it’s not a silly question at all. There isn’t a way at the blog to get a table of contents, similar pieces, etc. I’ve been wanting to provide that, but haven’t figured out an efficient way of creating it. I do tag the blog posts, so the best thing at this time would be to use the search field.

  140. Mustafa K Calik Avatar

    As to my opinion, the counter-reaction of dopamine and opioid systems’ effects are closed circuit type of inhabitants keeping us in a rat race on o wheel…
    Unless one link is broken loop is infinite. Breaking that link may mostly be counted as “unhealthy” and may cause one to be banished from the community…

  141. emily Avatar
    emily

    Is it possible for someone to have very high levels of dopamine all the time? Like more than an average person causing them to feel a little bit “high” all the time?

    1. Susan Weinschenk Avatar
      Susan Weinschenk

      Emily,

      It is possible for people to have higher levels of dopamine than other people, and/or high levels of dopamine sometimes rather than others. Higher levels of dopamine are associated with drug addiction, post traumatic stress disorder, and attention deficit disorder. Here is a really good article about the complexities of dopamine: http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2013/07/what_is_dopamine_love_lust_sex_addiction_gambling_motivation_reward.html

      Hope this helps.

  142. dn Avatar
    dn

    goodness we broke down the problem but didnt discuss any solutions…it feels unfinished in that aspect

  143. Ernest Avatar

    i would definitely class this as addiction. I think am addicted to the internet.

  144. Can someone be addicted to information?

    Yes, information addiction exists; Internet addiction is a subset as is gaming. Any activity that creates pleasurable stimulation can become an addiction. Dopamine makes you addicted to information BY Susan Weinschenk, PhD https://www.blog.theteamw.com…

  145. […] As the folks at Team W explain: […]

  146. […] should know about people: #8 — Dopamine makes you addicted to seeking information. Available at: https://www.blog.theteamw.com/2009/11/07/100-things-you-should-know-about-people-8-dopamine-makes-us… (Accessed: 18 December […]

  147. bdselfi24 Avatar

    Is the dopamine loop making people anxious? Combined with multitasking do we stand a chance in this modern world or should we just book into a clinic now. I would like to develop an app that would cut down people’s use of twitter, smart phones and emails. I fear though the dopamine addicts would turn on me

  148. Anne Avatar

    If this is true then it answers why I keep changing my mind about my business. I have idea after idea and continually start newer and better things rather than sticking with one. This is ‘neat’ to know, but I want to use it as a cure for my inability to remain on one idea. But when I looked opioid up it is responsible for producing endorphins in our body and not the dopamine regulator you’ve stated here. Most was research about opiates and heroin addiction. Yes your body makes its’ own opiates but those are sited for pain regulation. Where did you get your studies? I’d like to look at those.

  149. […] though, the latest clinical trials indicate it’s actually the anticipation of receiving this sort of reward, rather than the reward itself, that produces the highest levels of dopamine. So, our need to […]

  150. as Avatar

    Is the dopamine loop making people anxious? Combined with multitasking do we stand a chance in this modern world or should we just book into a clinic now.

  151. […] of social media is also associated with a surge in dopamine, the “pleasure chemical” of the brain. Dopamine increases in response to unpredictability, reward cues, and small bits of […]

  152. Sruthi Pathak Escorts in Bangalore

    Nice to see this article looking forward to seeing more thanks.

  153. […] search. This leads to it increasing your general level of arousal and your goal-directed behaviour. Dopamine is stimulated by unpredictability, by small bits of information, and by reward cues. These condition are ones […]

  154. […] is a chemical released in the brain that creates want is stimulated by unpredictability, by small bits of information, and by reward cues. These condition are ones […]

  155. Online Relation Avatar

    ohh Thanks……
    This post is very helpful for me.

  156. […] Dopamine is stimulated  when we want, desire, seek out, and search. Which is exactly what’s happening when we look up a new friend or associate online be that on Facebook, twitter or Instagram. […]

  157. […] the production of two main chemical rewards – dopamine and oxytocin. Dopamine causes us to search, seek, and desire novelty – which naturally makes us curious to explore the constant flow of information from social media […]

  158. ASIYA Avatar

    If our seeking isn’t turned off at least for a little while, then we start to run in an endless loop.

  159. […] will tell you that this is causes or controls pleasure. The problem is that we now know thanks to recent studies that dopamine actually causes people to seek pleasure, not experience […]

  160. […] our control is the effects of dopamine on our bodies. After much research, doctors have found that dopamine creates our feelings of wanting, seeking, and searching. We want to know more, we want to interact with […]

  161. […] stuff feels good. Seeing something, wanting it, getting it; gives us a hit of endorphins. But this buzz is not genuine contentment, it is our ancient brain reward circuitry that evolved for … The more we feed into it, the more we crave, and the less satisfied we […]

  162. […] “Dopamine is stimulated by unpredictability, by small bits of information, and by reward cues… The pull of dopamine is so strong that studies have shown tweeting is harder for people to resist than cigarettes and alcohol. Then there’s oxytocin, sometimes referred to as “the cuddle chemical” because it’s released when you kiss or hug. n 10 minutes of social media time, oxytocin levels can rise as much as 13%—a hormonal spike equivalent to some people on their wedding day.” […]

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