Smartphones have become a necessity and provide us with access to endless amounts of information and entertainment, but not without a price. The Smartphone essentially operates like a small slot machine, doling out rewards in the form of desired content, social media updates, messages, news, and information. Each time we receive something we like, we get a small dopamine hit in our brain, but what makes our Smartphones even more addictive is the notification feature.
Notifications tell our brains that a reward might be waiting for us, and the “maybe factor” creates an addictive pattern in our brain where the expectation of seeing something we might like resembles what happens when anticipating winning on a slot machine. And, just like on a slot machine, it is that anticipation that keeps our eyes glued to screens for hours each day.