AAmerican companies have long used basic psychological frameworks, such as the role of dopamine in building habits in the brain, to design and market products. Innovations in technology and hardware are now making it easier for machines to process data more quickly. This advancement, coupled with changes in consumer behavior and product development, is creating a world where companies can easily deliver continuous dopamine hits to their customers.
* Dopamine entered the chat *
In case you are not familiar, dopamine plays a vital role in the brain’s reward system and in the formation of habits. Dopamine release specifically changes when expectations are not met: positive surprise means more dopamine, while negative surprise means less dopamine. If we are surprised by something like winning money on the lottery, an unexpected positive change, it is us probably more likely to be involved in this behavior.
The companies that are leaders in the digital world base their product innovations on psychological habits and consumer behavior: if they can create something that makes customers keep coming back, they will use it to the nth degree. As advances in technology create better products that release more dopamine at higher rates, we are reaching new neurobiological limits and redefining the human-computer relationship.
One of the reasons TikTok has stood out from other social networks is because of how it markets virality. By creating an algorithm that delivers perfectly tailored content to millions of global users, users roll the dice for virality every time they post on TikTok. When a TikTok user sees a video they like, their brain releases dopamine. By watching, liking, or sharing this video, the TikTok algorithm learns how to keep triggering these dopamine releases. Not to mention someone who posts on TikTok. The appeal of going viral by all means appeals to almost everyone on social media.
The overnight offer from celebrities is the ultimate unexpected dopamine treat for most young people on the internet. It is both impressive and scary how technology product managers have managed to strip every last dopamine neurotransmitter from their users. They say that if there is enough time, a group of monkeys will randomly reproduce Shakespeare’s works. In a modern translation, an industry made up mostly of non-scientists has figured out how evolutionary biology can be used to make their products irresistible in less than a decade.
Second generation digital products are emerging with mechanisms that trigger new virtuous feedback loops through previously untapped brain research. Some chemical candidates for the formation of next generation mass habits may be oxytocin, cortisol, and adrenaline.
It is very difficult to repeatedly memorize the oxytocin release in a two-dimensional app format. Facebook achieves oxytocin release by showing “memories” that evoke nostalgia. However, due to the limited number of stimuli that trigger the neurotransmitter, it is difficult to encourage habitual behavior towards oxytocin.
Cortisol is the stress hormone that stands for fight or flight. It creates sensations on the fear spectrum and can be a powerful tool for taking action on an issue, as demonstrated by Cambridge Analytic and the 2016 US presidential election.
Adrenaline is a hormone produced by the adrenal gland as a result of stimulation from the sympathetic nervous system that releases the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which is also a member of the catecholamine family with dopamine. It’s specific The role in habit formation is complex, but it does indeed play a significant role in behavior and reward.
* Adrenalin is now hosting the chat *
We know adrenaline very well. It is triggered when you skydive and when you bet a friend on the golf course. Given its relationship with dopamine and its pre-existing role in habit formation, Adrenaline is the perfect candidate for displacing dopamine as the king chemical in the new social media landscape that is currently emerging.
Robinhood is an incredible window into the soul of this transition. Approximately 46% of Millennials and Gen Zs trade derivatives on platforms like RobinhoodThat’s twice as much as older generations: The TikTok generation is more interested in the thrill of expanding their portfolio than getting likes on their avocado toast pictures on Facebook.
At some point in the next decade, the products will be tailored to each user. While dopamine hits from likes on Instagram were interesting in 2015, users are becoming more sophisticated and looking for more than just likes on the platforms they use. Product managers will begin to modify their product experience to create a bespoke cocktail of neurotransmitters and hormones designed specifically for that particular person. While we’re on the road for many years to come, this prospect makes me excited, scared, excited and comforted at the same time.
At Grin Gaming, we can tell firsthand that Americans are hungry for adrenaline-pumping digital experiences. We believe that adrenaline-inducing products and features will spread throughout the US market as more companies are able to leverage Robinhood-like user experiences, which will define the next decade of consumer technology.
Nick Bucheleres is the CEO and founder of Grin Gaming. Grin Gaming is an AI-powered technology platform that allows users to predict every moment of the action. Grin Gaming is re-imagining the live events experience by allowing users to compete on any outcome and play live events in innovative ways that suit the current attention competition. From sports to stocks to crypto, Grin Gaming hosts hundreds of competitions every day. Download Grin Gaming from the Appstore, or to learn more about Grin Gaming, please visit www.gringaming.com.
The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.