How We Chase Dopamine: Porn, Social Media, and Alcohol | Steven Kotler


Peter Drucker famously said if I want to know
what you believe I could ask you what you believe and maybe I’ll believe your answer. But show me your calendar and your bank statement
and then I’ll really know what’s going on. And what we tried to calculate was the altered
state economy. How much time and money do people spend trying
to change the channel on normal waking consciousness and unlock these heightened states of information. We did a global calculation. We looked everywhere from elicit to licit
drugs which is an obvious place to start but we also looked at things like pornography
and social media where the neurochemical reward you’re getting from these experiences is
very similar to the neurochemical reward you’re getting in these states. At the heart of a lot of this is the chemical
dopamine. Dopamine is a focusing drug. It’s a performance enhancing drug and it’s
a pleasure drug. It is also incredibly, incredibly, incredibly
addictive. Porn addiction is very much about dopamine,
right. If you think about porn from an evolutionary
point of view our sex drive is about procreation. We’re not getting any of that from porn. We’re not watching porn for what it makes
us feel sexually. We’re watching porn for what it does to
us mentally. It changes our state of consciousness. It gets us high and it’s the dopamine that
is getting us high. It’s knocking outside of normal waking consciousness
and it’s lifting us up to a heightened state. Unfortunately porn on demand tends to be very,
very addictive and people get into a downstream cycle with it. We see the same thing with social media, right. Simon Sinek famously says if you wake up in
the morning and you’re checking your phone before you’re saying hello to your spouse
that’s an addictive behavior. And it’s dopamine that is driving that addiction. So what happens with social media is Robert
Sapolsky who did the foundational research on this at Stanford calls it the magic of
maybe. When you look at your phone and maybe there’s
a text there and maybe there’s not and you don’t know. When it shows up that high you get, that’s
dopamine. It’s the magic of maybe. Maybe it’ll be there, maybe it won’t. When it shows up you get a 400 percent spike
in dopamine. That is roughly the same amount of dopamine
as you’re getting from cocaine. It’s slightly less than an extremely addictive
drug like cocaine. And that’s what’s happening. And it’s interesting because if you think
about things that routinely produce a lot of dopamine – alcohol, for example. There’s a drinking age, right. We have a drinking age. Alcohol releases a whole lot of dopamine. It makes you feel really, really good. We say okay, you can have that but you’ve
got to wait. You’ve got to be 21 years old. We don’t do that with online pornography. We might want to do it with online pornography. We don’t do that with social media. We’re essentially putting highly addictive
drugs into the hands of kids before they have any natural defenses against them. And what you’re seeing with internet addiction,
with social media addiction, with porn addiction is the same thing over and over. It’s people trying to change their state
of consciousness with a device. Trying to get at the underlying neurochemistry
and it’s very, very addictive.

100 thoughts on “How We Chase Dopamine: Porn, Social Media, and Alcohol | Steven Kotler

  • So as humans, technology will get us addicted to abnormal routines? Well shit, porn and facebook were made from jews so I guess the problem only leads to one thing.

  • I would add eating to that addictive state he was referring to. I gained a lot of weight because eating makes you feel good and I realized that it would be easier for me to stop eating candy, soda, and desserts altogether because it was too difficult for me to consume them in moderation. It's worked for me.

  • The myth of Sex/Porn addiction. Go read Ethical Porn For Dicks by David Ley. And the myth of sex addiction by same author.

  • I noticed I'm not even remotely atracted to porn girls but for some weird reason I was addicted. If you want to stop being addicted change how you feel about it, associate it with something disgusting, something that makes you puke. Also change how you see yourself someone addicted or someone free 🙂

  • WTF I'm trying to get addicted to porn lol. I think I may be addicted to taking a shit since I enjoy it and I feel really really good.

  • how many knew this before watching? Cuz i did and i watched it anyway knowing full well what he was going to say…

  • Mommy's boys looking for escape routes in the comments. But I guess it's better for all humanity if they just fap and don't procreate

  • Theres no such thing as porn or sex addiction. Just horny. Choke that shit out n get back to wurk fool

  • I still don't understand why all of you keep saying porn is a bad thing,unless you spend all your day in the room jacking off then i see no big problem.some people don't want to pay for sex when you can't have some or don't want to risk having sex and catching something.we are animals we need our sex fix and that's that.

  • eletronic games… junk foods… porn videos… social medias… conspiracy theories… these are not much different from recreational drugs! (smoking/injecting/snorting/inhaling/drinking)

  • I really appreciate what he just taught me. I understood what was going while I was I chasing pleasure and altering my reality, but for some reason this helped give me a clearer understanding of it all 👍👍👍💖💖💖

  • I stuck in limbo now don't get it, so I can't even watch porn now one f the ultimate pleasure prize tht drive humans. I know it's addictive in nature but does it make us step into wrong direction socially or consciously. I want to know cons of exiatence of dopamine in human brain.

  • When I wake up , I check the stock market, if I'm up I get that good feeling if it's down I get that bad feeling but try to ignore it

  • I check my social media because I'm bored…
    I haven't had a conversation with a live human for years. it fills a gap.

  • Its not so much that they're "kids", its more so that they neither I ever knew what it was doing… Nobody ever knew… If I knew when I was 12 or 11 or even 10 I just would'nt of watched it, just like I did'nt smoke… Simple as that…

  • Well in America all we do is work and wash our kids dishes cant blame us for wanting to have a line of coke,drink a beer and watch porn sounds fun already

  • I'm not a smart man, but if something makes me feel good in this rotten reality…
    I'm all in. Don't care if it's a good or bad thing. I'm not here to make a better world, just trying to get through it the best I can.

  • you dont watch porn these days, you surf for porn… spend 1min each clip, then click next thumbnail..

    chase the dragon..

  • You get dopamine after exercising too yet its not as addictive as the other activities this video mentions there must be more to it then just dopamine that leads to self destructive behaviours. I'm sorry but this vid fails to explore the inner workings of addictive behaviour associated with these activities.

  • Social media will eventually become our mental state of minds worst enemy, it is already creating millions more cases of depression and anxiety. Get off Facebook, it might save your life.

  • I'm finding if I change my thinking on these things…my behavior towards them changes. But personally that power to change my thinking is coming from a God of my understanding.

  • Someone Bring up that stupid bullshit of putting an age on phones again Ima slap the shit out of them. Why is the drinking age 21 It doesn't stop people getting it anyways.

  • This is ridiculous. You cannot say that social media and looking at pictures online is anything like an alcohol addiction. A substitution for real life maybe, but not an addiction. No more so than human interaction is an addiction anyway.

  • Every rewarding activity involves dopamine moving around in your brain. This video makes it seem like only scary, addictive things release dopamine. All motivation and volitional activity depends on dopamine in the reward system, that´s how the human brain works. If you take away porn, FB and alcohol, people will get dopamine from other things. It´s impossible to ban everything that releases dopamine, and if somehow you did, people would become inert zombies.

  • Just don't blame new technologies. Before the social media, I was in contact with a dozen people through the letters. I was anxious to get another one and when I got it I was extremely excited- even more than on social media because it was less frequent. Banning letter corespondence for people under age of 21 wouldn't be wise.

  • I am addicted to porn, but it is saving me so much money because I don't date and I will never get married or have children so my MGTOW lifestyle is making me rich, but yet I am addicted to porn.

  • So what defenses are magically acquired at the age of 21? Is there a milestone in brain development met at that age that is going to make a person less susceptible to dopamine addiction? Just wondering because he said, "we're essentially putting highly addictive drugs into the hands of kids who have not built any kind of defenses" or something along those lines.

  • Everybody hear that.. Those people watch porn to get high on dopamine…Peter durcker famously said if i wanted to know what you think I could ask you.. And maybe I will beleive you. But show me ur calendar and bank statement then I'll really know what's going on.. stupid monkey. What kind of people take your pictures off social media and upload them to an interactive website let's just say pornhub to have a fantasy it's downright disrespectful they did that to my daughter and it pisses me off what a complete violation of our civil rights rights to privacy within one's family marriage our kids life our rights to file for a divorce buy and sell property etc etc. I've been reading and there's a tort law down here in Texas that says that's slander and libel which in turn can bring forth a lawsuit for punitive damages in a nutshell if people don't want to be on the website stop putting them on there confer with those people first.. and what calendar the Android app calendar so people can backdoor your cell phone amongst many other apps and peer into your private lives these people are going for broke and making people broke in the process. nobody wants to show them our bank statements or lose any more than we already have maybe people are just lonely or single it's a whole different level than just getting high on dopamine please try and pay attention.. and don't think people are happy about how you manipulate the phone's apps or ear hustle their passwords to destroy them and their children and their family and their friends etc etc etc we're not even scratching the surface of the depth of the evil and deception that people live with and that live around them.. and some people naturally don't care they actually upload videos so people can have a fantasy but that's those people's freedom of choice there's a fine line when it comes to the law of the land I mean look at Hulk Hogan he's dating his ex wives best friend they make sex video somehow it gets uploaded and he sues them for liable $115 million dollars people can't do this and this is what will happen.

  • Like Sapolsky his research on the primates POK and agree with this, thanks for the transcript Big Think and People also beware of Religion and check out Sam Harris…hay got a rush for promotion & Alcohol makes me a dope 4 sure. Thanks

  • He's said what the problem. Now it's the part of the parents to control and monitor their children's social media activity and porn addiction.

  • Social media is the most updated drug, and we are knowingly or unknowingly making ourselves and future generations addicted to this drug
    https://youtu.be/K2OkFNaGWlw

  • Alcohol releases whole lot of dopamine? Really? It is a gaba ligand, it has nothing to do with dopamine. It doesn't release any dopamine.

  • Alcohol releases GABA directly, not Dopamine. This was a pretty pedestrian take on dopimine IMO.The only drugs that act directly on dopamine are psychomotor stimulants. Dopamine is better thought of as dictating what pleasurable stimuli to pay attention to, not pleasure as such.

  • how does this supposed to mather, as in social media, or porn or even gaming, or casino's or online poker, or rummicub or going to catch dopamine on the nature hills of win, anywhere go sailing, go mountainbiking people get dopamine. great and than we got these big farma between this factor. great comunication disorder 😀

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