Addicted To Your Phone. Here is Why.
A Neurotransmitter In Your Brain Called Dopamine is The Cause Of Your Cell Phone or Smart Phone Addiction.
Before, I start answering this question,let me confess that I am not a biologist and many of the things mentioned below is what I found reading from other experts. Let me start by crediting them first.
Why We’re All Addicted to Texts, Twitter and Google
Want To Hook Users? Drive Them Crazy. (An Intro to Variable Rewards) — Nir and Far
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.
However, since I am a very visual person I decided to create the figures below to convey the idea faster and more effectively.
Dopamine a “feel good chemical” is a neurotransmitter in our brain which although critical for more mental and physical functions plays an important role is reward seeking behaviour.
Dopamine motivates you to seek pleasure giving rewards like food,sex and some cases drugs. When you are experiencing something new or most importantly, anticipating something new dopamine levels rise motivating you further.
All this is great from evolutionary point of view, where humans have gone out and searched for new experiences. Perhaps without dopamine, we would just lie on a sofa unmotivated almost trying to achieve nothing new in life.
Smartphones are not by themselves addictive without the presence of the internet or social media. But once connected they provide three different pathways of pleasure.
#1 Rewards of Hunt
Not only are we addicted to plain old physical pleasure but hunting for new information or just reading and learning new stuff provides a dopamine rush unlike others. This is the very reason you are reading this article right now and sites like Quora or IFLS are so popular.
#2 Rewards of Self
Another reward pathway for a dopamine rush is being validated and liked by others. Every time someone likes your Facebook photos or in my case up votes this answer I will derive pleasure and dopamine will rush into my brain causing me to write more stuff.
#3 Rewards of Tribe
We all want a feeling of belonging to a larger group and being accepted. Smartphone and social media allows this by being part of meetup groups, discussion forums, Facebook chat groups and other instant messaging groups.