Thursday, August 13, 2009

Caught in a trap

A recent article on, "Seeking: How the brain hard-wires us to love Google, Twitter, and texting. And why that's dangerous", brings in modern brain science to explain why we'll fritter away hours of our lives on pointless internet browsing. My mind immediately jumped to a recent episode of the Radiolab Podcast, which had a segment on a woman descending into a spiral of compulsive gambling behavior shortly after being put on a medication which increased the amount of dopamine in her brain.

The next time you're on the internet for more than a few minutes, stop and think about what you're doing and whether it needs to be done at all. It could be all useful activity on the internet is done for the day, and you're compelled to keep clicking by an ancient reward-seeking system inside your brain. Turn the computer off. See what your spouse, partner, or child is up to. Enjoy some recreation with a book or hobby. Live as a real person. I know I'll be rethinking a lot of internet behavior in my own life.

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