Monday, April 20, 2015

A Quick Thought

In my reading recently I have found a lot of research about how the brain works efficiently- and often- not so efficiently. For lots of evolutionary reasons our brains respond to novelty. We react to wanting new things and getting a rush (of dopamine, often) in response.

Interestingly, many of the reasons for this evolutionary development no longer hold true. We don't need to remember the exciting things in order to survive (i.e. where that great food was located.) Now we can just look at our credit card receipts.

But the reaction is still there. Evolution doesn't move fast enough considering we are very, very recently out of that kind of survival mode.

Which brings me to the cellphone, the Internet and Facebook.  Do you find yourself refreshing your Facebook feed every few minutes? Do you react automatically and reach for the phone when that little *ping* announces a new text?

Well, the *ping* causes dopamine to be released. Pleasure. Excitement. Reach for the phone. I was sitting next to a young woman who kept her phone in the top of her high boots. Even in the midst of other things happening, I knew when her phone went off. Not because I heard it, she had it on *buzz*. But because she reacted. With the automatic reaction of her hand going instantly to reach for the phone. Instantly. No matter what she was doing or what was happening around her.

That, of course, is why the cellphone has become even more dangerous than drinking and driving. The *ping* or the *buzz* releases the dopamine that distracts us, no matter how much we think it doesn't. It is instantaneous. Even more so than the ADD reaction of

It is quite frightening how much is does impact all  of us. All  of us!!!


Oops. I gotta go- there's news on Facebook I have to check.

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