Traps Our brains are programmed to read over and over again

he scrolling It has become part of our routine as social networks have become established in our daily lives. It has become such an automatic that we have even discovered it A second term is when we spend absorbed hours Flickering between publications and publications,”doomscrolling

The same expression is already indicative of the problem: the word destiny It usually refers to a condemnation, an inexorable fate. Wandering abstractly between publications often creates a sense of uneasiness due to lost time, condemnation.

But, what specifically happens in our heads and brains when We scroll? We often hear that apps are designed to be addictive and we spend more hours browsing their content so there must be some science to it.

It all starts with an evolutionary trend.

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According to chain explanation BBC Ariane Ling of New York University Langone, As humans we are curious To know what is happening in our environment. This is implemented in many ways, from our interest in news to the attention we pay to the road accidents we encounter, he notes. It is part of our survival strategy. Mobile phones connect us to this information, in fact, they provide us with a constant stream of information stimulation.

inside Another article Also BBCPamela Rutledge, director Media Psychology Research CenterAdded a link to doomscrolling and fear that we often associate with such informational stimuli. For Routledge, the act of being absorbed in a cell phone “describes the compulsive need to try to find answers when we are afraid.”

There are factors that change how we approach each occasion. In 2021, two researchers from Cornell University and the Wharton School Results published From a series of studies conducted with over 6,000 participants.

One experiment involved playing several music videos to participants and then asking them whether they preferred to watch another video or begin performing a specific task. They observed that those who watched a single video were more willing to perform the task than those exposed to five videos. They weren’t just tired of watching videos: the more they watched, the more they wanted.

the second of studies This was related to the homogeneity of the videos. This time everyone saw the same, but the team changed the labeling of these videos. This time, those who watched more “homogeneous” videos (even though they weren’t really homogenous) showed more willingness to watch.

A third of the research had to do with intensity. This time, one group of participants interspersed the tasks with the videos while the other group watched the videos sequentially and also completed the tasks in one block. In this case, those who watched the videos uninterrupted showed the greatest willingness to continue.

And our brain?

But if we want to pay attention to what happens in our brains when we’re glued to our cell phones, we need to search for the neural centers where sensations of pleasure are processed. In this sense, scrolling is not very different from a drug or other addiction.

The way our brain “guides” us to seek information is through its reward system. This is one of the key pieces of the system Dopamine. This hormone is also released by our neurons when we are in front of our phones, Give us this award.

Our brains are not able to distinguish when we are gathering useful information about our environment from when we are looking at pictures of animals or reading some worrying news about the state of the world. In all these cases the neurotransmitter release process is the same and the result is the same: we want more.

But these simple incentives don’t come for free. he doomscrolig Added with Damage to our mental health. There are several mechanisms by which this damage can occur. From a biochemical perspective, one hypothesis suggests that when our brain releases more dopamine than it can reabsorb, it loses its ability to “reset itself,” which can lead to problems with anxiety or depression.

Another problem arises from lack of sleep. Screen use at night can interfere with our sleep patterns, so looking at your phone before bed can lead to losing track and trouble falling asleep.

Finally, some content, such as pessimistic news, can also cause anxiety. Other content that can cause confusion is the conflicting stories we get from different sources, which can “drive us crazy.” Renowned psychologist Susan Albers From the Cleveland Clinic.

which one advice to avoid doomscrolling? We can first try to identify the problem. To do this, we can cut corners, for example, by putting the cell phone away, leaving it in another room while we work or try to fall asleep. A technique that requires more skill is to be aware of the moments where we are automatically scrolling through content.

Introspection is required. Another common recommendation is to be aware of our feelings, looking for signs of emotional exhaustion or fatigue.

Other techniques that we can find include Redirect our curiosity in other places; Or focus on the “right now.” Also Avoid worrying too much about the newsThat is, try not to fall into the calamity, actively look for even positive news.

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Picture | Eddie Billard