Browse Definitions :
Definition

dopamine-driven feedback loop

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

A dopamine-driven feedback loop is a self-perpetuating circuit fueled by the way the neurotransmitter works with the brain’s reward system. Feedback loops, in general, are circuits that return output as input to a given system to drive future operations and, in this case, behaviors.

Dopamine is associated with “seeking” behavior. It works to motivate people to seek out food, information and entertainment, among myriad other commodities and experiences. Once a target is achieved, the brain’s opioid system delivers a chemical reward that we experience as pleasure. Through experiencing this cycle repeatedly, people and other animals learn to anticipate pleasure from seeking, which perpetuates the loop.

Social media use provides a good model of the dopamine feedback loop. The search for information or entertainment drives people to scroll through their Facebook newsfeeds, for example, in anticipation of pleasure when something interesting pops up. It’s not necessary that there are a great number of interesting items in the feed because, as in operant conditioning, an intermittent reinforcement schedule is the most effective for maintaining target behavior. In this case, the desired behavior is keeping people scrolling as long as possible. The feedback loop also manifests through posts, as people post anticipating responses and are rewarded by Likes and other reactions.

Because the system doesn’t have a mechanism for satiety built into it, the behavior driven by the dopamine feedback loop can continue for much longer than the individual intends and, in fact, for much longer than they perceive psychological rewards.

Chamath Palihapitiya is among prominent social media experts decrying the way sites like Facebook exploit human psychology to the detriment of users. In his 2017 "View from The Top Talk" at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, the former Facebook Vice-President of User Growth said “…we have created tools now that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works… It is eroding the core foundations of how people behave, by and between each other. And I don't have a good solution. My solution is that I just don't use these tools anymore. I haven't for years."

This was last updated in July 2019

Continue Reading About dopamine-driven feedback loop

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

  • PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)

    The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a widely accepted set of policies and procedures intended to ...

  • risk management

    Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organization's capital and earnings.

SearchSecurity

SearchHealthIT

  • telemedicine (telehealth)

    Telemedicine is the remote delivery of healthcare services, such as health assessments or consultations, over the ...

  • Project Nightingale

    Project Nightingale is a controversial partnership between Google and Ascension, the second largest health system in the United ...

  • medical practice management (MPM) software

    Medical practice management (MPM) software is a collection of computerized services used by healthcare professionals and ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

SearchStorage

  • hot plugging

    Hot plugging is the addition of a component to a running computer system without significant interruption to the operation of the...

  • M.2 SSD

    An M.2 SSD is a solid-state drive (SSD) that conforms to a computer industry specification and is used in internally mounted ...

  • kilobyte (KB or Kbyte)

    A kilobyte (KB or Kbyte) is a unit of measurement for computer memory or data storage used by mathematics and computer science ...

Close