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Cell Phones, Dopamine, and Development: Barbara Jennings at TEDxABQ

Cell Phones, Dopamine, and Development: Barbara Jennings at TEDxABQ

Translator: Mohand Habchi
Reviewer: Bighead Ge The cell phone has greatly
changed our lives. In many ways,
it’s more practical. We can talk
to almost anybody from almost anywhere. But there’s also ways that the cell phone
has impacted lives that you maybe
not aware of. You see, our brain has a natural
chemical response to the cell phone. It’s a release of the chemical in the brain
called dopamine. Now, I know it’s
the dopamine is the chemical
that makes you feel good. But that’s not
actually the case. Dopamine, is the chemical that’s
responsible for our seeking. So we look
for something, and we find it, and we get
a dopamine release. And we look for
something else, we get another
dopamine release. This is
what’s known as, again, the dopamine loop. This is the same
thing that occurs when you get on the internet
and you’re doing a search, say, for a recipe for dinner. And you find yourself,
an hour later, light years away
from where you started. Now you’re reading
about designer breed dogs (Laughter) and dinner
still isn’t ready. (Laughter) The cell phone has greatly
impacted our lives, and – in some ways
we become dependent again. Here’s my story. I had the original cell phone
that came with my plan. It wasn’t fancy,
no text, no camera, but it was practical,
and I kept it in my purse and I used it
when it was necessary. Then came the iPhone.
(Laughter) Now I had camera,
internet, email, and a whole host
of phone applications, in an all-in-one
hand-held unit. And I found myself, really developing
a dependence on this phone. I would carry it with me
from room to room in the house, even taking it
in the backyard, when I went to garden. But my dependence worsened when I get into
a relationship with a texter. I found myself, on an emotional
roller coaster. (Laughter) I so looked forward to the texts
I would get from him, and when I got them
I be elated and excited, but when they didn’t come in,
I found myself really low. (Laughter) So this intrigued me. And I started looking
at how other people use their cell phone. Families on cell phone. Parents talking on the phone
instead of to their kids, kids on the cell phone. I go into restaurants, and whole tables,
everybody on the cell phone. (Laughter) So, I decided
to do some research. It turns out that everything about
this technology is designed to rope us in, from the alert that it emits to the amount of text
you can see on the screen. And we buy into it, because we become
information seekers. Even the text
on a news media. audios, visuals and texts scrolling
across the screen, and we go for it. The most common
use of cell phones is occurring
in college students. They’re receiving
about a hundred texts a day, and checking for their texts, an additional sixty times a day. Now, their compulsive addiction isn’t to the cell phone, it’s to the dopamine they get every time they get a message. Think how you feel
when you check your messages and you don’t have any, versus when you do. Elated, valued, kind of important. The cell phones also, change the way we think and we communicate with people. We’d rather communicate
in snippets of text, rather than way through
a voicemail or email message. And our focus
and our attention span, is shorter. We split from topic to topic,
and idea to idea, hardly ever finishing anything. And even in the Google age, with all this information
provided to us, we’re willing to take
the first response supplied, rather than
really verify it. Her’s another thing. How do you feel
when you drive away and you realize you’ve left
your cell phone behind? (Laughter) Do you turn around
to go back for it, no matter how
late you are, to wherever
you’re going? (Laughter) Well, as it turns out, there’s been a reported
increase in anxiety of this kind, and there’s
a medical condition associated with it. Nomophobia. (Laughter)
No, really. (Laughter) No mobile phone phobia. And it’s the condition that arises from the anxiety
that we feel when we don’t
have our cell phone, or when you don’t
have communication. So, I want to offer you
a challenge today. For the next two weeks, put your cell phone
out of your physical location, for an hour a day. For one hour a day, be without the cell phone. Focus on something else. Your surroundings, the people
around you, or just gaze into these beautiful New Mexico skies. One hour a day,
dopamine free. (Applause)
Hello, mum… (Applause)

25 thoughts on “Cell Phones, Dopamine, and Development: Barbara Jennings at TEDxABQ”


  2. The last sentence really sums the whole thing up.
    Dopamine affection is obviously relative and not absolute(like every single sensory system in human body, that makes us able to adapt). This means that continous high dopamine levels will become a norm for your body and normal(no external stimulants) dopamine levels will create uncomfortable mood.
    This is why I try to avoid quick dopamine boosters, such as fiddling with phone when you are facing boredom. Just face the boredom, so getting away from it will feel well worth it.

  3. It has been many hours and I am stuck to my phone……I dont know but the moment I get off I feel anxious and depressed so I just keep using it…I think i am addicted..

  4. I'm suffering EMF exposure now, someone you love will too. It's not just about dopamine. It's bigger than that. Do you think someone researched the saturation of EMF in our atmosphere, uh no. You're part of the research.

  5. let me see now…… everywhere one turns today…day or night…. someone's fondling a phone …Hmmmmmmm? now lets conduct a million dollar study to then say… " we don't know if it's an addiction"

  6. We watched this in my English class today and my friend said “ she looks like a tomato “ and I tried so hard not to laugh but it didn’t work

  7. Change your life, brain has natural chemical response dopamine, it doent feel good, seeking. We are looking for an other dopamine.Far from when i started. Cellphone greatly impected our lives and we dependant again. She talk about her phone, parctical then came the iphone with cam email, dependance on the phone evn took it to the backyard, emotional roaler coaster. She found herself very bad, everybody on cellphones even with their kids.
    We buy because becoming info seeker. 100 text a day college student and check 60 times a day. You are valued when you have messages. We move topic to topic.
    How do we feel when we dont have our phone ? Increase anxiety medical condition associated with this, nomophobia.
    Challenge: Put your phone 1hour a day away and focus on something else. 1 hour dopamine free.

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