One's personality is both a composition and reflection, but if I have to choose one of them, I will choose reflection as the "self" is more important to me than "me". One's composition may change, walking across the cultural landscapes and climbing the social ladder but one's self is tied to one's reflections. The fun part is that reflections are not bound to "Time-Space" barriers ( it is not time-space) and respective mental constructs, which have grown so thick over ages, that they had reduced the image of humans to Sisyphus, rolling different sizes of boulders on hills of different heights.… As the name of this Blog indicates, knols are my perspectives on topics of interests, sweet/bitter experiences or just doodling :)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Inspired by Facebook?

Two modern side effects of rapid technological developments and related modern life styles have emerged as increasing number of obese people and addiction to social networking sites, especially Facebook. Recently, the role of the brain reward system in food addiction and social network addiction have become popular to explain a lot of whys in this regard. Although, researchers are trying to find the genetic basis for obesity but there are evidences for links between brain reward system and obesity

In "Your Brain on Facebook", David Rock discusses the link between our brain reward system and popularity of Facebook. Our brains are evolved to be social and don't miss a chance in thinking about others even if it gets a chance of few seconds to be not engaged. Facebook uses two aspects of our brain, thinking about others (connecting with others and what they do) and our brains reward system by its "Like" button. 

Although the reports like those of two previous paragraphs are amusing to learn about but my interest is in something else. If brain reward system is so manipulative of our behaviors that it can hurt our health, education and even social lives, then can the brain reward system be used for something more positive? In fact, the answer is Yes. It is not just food or the social networking that are addictive but also "things that we like to do" or make us feel good doing that are linked with brain's reward system. Just if we make them habit, then they become our real strength and even lead us to fulfill our dreams. In fact, brain is an amazing organ in the sense that it usually change the reality. The mental reality is usually not the same as the external reality and it is not the virtual reality that is mostly products of mental realities are so different and addictive. 

Just as Facebook uses two aspect of our brains, linking with others and brains reward system, if we design what we "like to do" to link with others then, it would definitely ending up  boosting our performances and sharpening of our skills.

The reason that, I am saying that we can use, the phenomenon of Facebook addiction, as a model to reinvent our behaviors, and use it in our advantage is because, Facebook has emerged as a parallel mental ecology to those of earlier ones like culture. By parallel, I mean, culture is still dominant force in shaping our behaviors however, the cross-cultural and self-reflective environment of Facebook is introducing new behaviors that are at times go beyond social norms.

This means, if we create a parallel environments that are more productive then consumptive environment like that of culture and Facebook, we can use it to our advantage. The brain's attention is a limited resource and if it is not managed well, it will be wasted mostly.

There are 200,000,000 neurons in the mouse brain and only very small fraction of them - about 10,000- are dopamine neurons. Despite of making a very small fraction of neuron, they are proved to be very powerful in shaping behaviors of the mouses.

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