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What happens to your brain when you get a like on Instagram

New York University professor Adam Alter, author of “Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked, explains what happens to your brain when someone likes your post on Instagram or any other social media platform. Following is a transcript of the video.

The minute you take a drug, drink alcohol, smoke a cigarette if those are your poison, when you get a like on social media, all of those experiences produce dopamine, which is a chemical that’s associated with pleasure.

When someone likes an Instagram post, or any content that you share, it’s a little bit like taking a drug. As far as your brain is concerned, it’s a very similar experience. Now the reason why is because it’s not guaranteed that you’re going to get likes on your posts. And it’s the unpredictability of that process that makes it so addictive. If you knew that every time you posted something you’d get a 100 likes, it would become boring really fast.

One of the problems with Instagram is that everyone presents the very best versions of their lives. So you can curate Instagram, you can take a 100,000 shots if you want to before you actually share anything. What that means is, every time you look at someone’s feed, you’re getting only the very best aspects of their lives, which makes you feel like your life, in comparison with all its messiness, probably isn’t as good. Seeing the best version of everyone else’s life makes you feel deprived.

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