Dopamine, Smartphones & You: A battle for your time - Science in the News

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Basic overview of some of the brain science tricks that some products use to capture your attention and make you addicted. A good example from the article:

Other examples highlight a more deliberate effort to monopolize your time. Consider Instagram’s implementation of a variable-ratio reward schedule. As explained in this 60 Minutes interview, Instagram’s notification algorithms will sometimes withhold likes” on your photos to deliver them in larger bursts. So when you make your post, you may be disappointed to find less responses than you expected, only to receive them in a larger bunch later on. Your dopamine centers have been primed by those initial negative outcomes to respond robustly to the sudden influx of social appraisal. This use of a variable reward schedule takes advantage of our dopamine-driven desire for social validation, and it optimizes the balance of negative and positive feedback signals until we’ve become habitual users.

This is a good read to make sure you are educated on the basic tactics. Knowing this stuff can help you defend yourself. I wrote a similar piece to Identify Addictive Application Patterns for the same reason. Knowing is the first step to fighting addiction, or breaking an existing one.

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