The Neuroscience Of Addictive Television
What makes certain television shows so addictive to certain people? Chemically speaking: dopamine. That’s the “feel-good hormone,” a neurotransmitter linked to bliss and euphoria. When you watch something on TV that you enjoy, your brain produces dopamine. Repeated production of dopamine — like during a weekend of binge-watching — can result in a drug-like high. "It is the brain's signal that communicates to the body, 'This feels good. You should keep doing this!'" said psychologist Renee Carr.
■Class discussion: Which television shows have you addicted? How do they make you feel? Do you identify with the characters in the show? Do ever you find yourself caught up in the plot of a story of a TV program or movie? What about music? Do you ever feel addicted to particular songs or musicians? What other things can release dopamine to your brain? Can the hormone reinforce certain behavior, like exercising or eating? How can addictive drugs change brain chemistry and the production of dopamine?