Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Is Happiness A Click Away?

FreeDigitalPhotos.net, Dopamine and internet addiction, car shopping online

While scouring through the vast sea of Twitter this morning for relevant tweets, I came across a woman who posted an entertaining thought. Her exact words were:

"Online car shopping. I want every sporty car there is. Go figure."

No surprise, right? Who wouldn't? We're naturally drawn to the latest, greatest, and flashiest things out there. As the saying goes, you always want what you can't have.

Well, that got me thinking about the number of cars this gal must have clicked through, and I wondered how long she spent perusing dream vehicles. After reading that tweet, I came across this study claiming that we click too much online. The argument being presented was that we're becoming more and more addicted to the internet, and, long story short, it's driving us crazy. It's not in the content we're looking at, or the technology we use to view it either. It's the addiction that develops from being constantly connected, where we have the ability to look at wherever we want, even at two in the morning (not surprisingly, that car shopping tweet I found was posted after midnight).

Our brains are, in essence, rewiring themselves to constantly seek out little jolts of dopamine, the "feel good" chemical that we get whenever we've done something pleasurable. Even the smallest thing, such as checking your phone because you got a new notification, triggers a bit of this addictive chemical to hit your brain. As our brains crave more and more dopamine, we tend to become more impulsive and are prone to acting irrationally. Think for a moment to the last time you saw a movie, or went on a date. Did you check your phone for texts or e-mails during those situations? If you felt like you had to, your brain may be unable to control its craving for excitement from multiple sources, making it difficult for you to focus on one task at a time. To put things into scientific terms, your neurons become desensitized over time to one particular activity that the brain finds pleasing. The more desensitized they become, the more stimuli is needed to produce enough dopamine for the brain to feel satisfied.

With the prevalence of smartphones and living in a constantly connected society, there's not too much we can do to fight our internet addiction other than taking a break once in awhile throughout the day to refresh our heads. So when it comes to a major decision such as purchasing a car, it's fine to research online and browse around, but eventually you'll want to visit the dealership and check out the vehicle you're interested in before having the intent to buy. You may even want to go more than once, to test drive multiple times and really cement the decision you are about to make. The happiest customers I've seen are the ones who have physically spent time with the car they like before buying it. Don't jump into an impulse buy situation just because your brain gets overly excited!

Vehicle delivery, new car shopping, excited girl with car

Do you think internet addiction is a real thing? Can it affect the way we shop?


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