“Many people especially in the younger generations have become addicted to online social media platforms from being repeatedly exposed to types of Operant Conditioning, in which a positive reinforcement occurs from online activity and this induces changes in their brain chemistry. A neurochemical is released in the brain as a reward molecule, after certain behaviors occur in a social media or marketing environment that instigate a positive reinforcement. This is similar to getting a dopamine hit, in which the brain starts to associate dopamine pathways with certain online activity, people, products or Propaganda. Operant Conditioning is a process of learned behavior from either positive or negative reinforcement, where the person associates something online as being positive or negative, and that information changes their expectations or controls their behavior. Teenagers are especially vulnerable to these manipulation tactics, not recognizing the complex deceptions that are involved. As a result, the greater the instinctual desire and need to belong, to feel accepted and be popular with a social status, the stronger the reaction the brain will have to positive conditioning where this particular belief system is being reinforced. Some people can become obsessed with these positive reinforcement experiences and engage in compulsive behavior such as a need to keep playing an online game, or constantly checking email. Thus, excessive social network use can lead to addictive symptoms, using social media for changing moods and even suffering withdrawal effects. Without some personal discipline and Self Awareness, these manipulation methods can form positive associations in our brain to products or people that are marketing themselves to appear as something that they are not.”
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