Day#123: The neuroscience of Habits & Addiction

Day#123: The neuroscience of Habits & Addiction

I did a post yesterday talking about habits and how we form them, discussing various studies conducted on rats identifying how habitual behaviour can become automated and allow for us to do actions without considering the consequences. I see myself using these automated responses all the time, for example I tend to automatically turn to the internet when I do not understand something however people that I have worked with who are older than I am seem to search inward or outward socially for answers instead of relying on technology and the internet. The concept of automated actions and habits can also relate to placement of objects, for example how we always expect the logo to be top right on websites. At this point I often don’t even think about it, when I want to go to the home page it is as easy as a learned habit for me.


Today I watched an interesting video discussing the neuroscience of addiction and the speaker also goes through how habits are formed and the brain starts with a reward based system but then becomes reliant on the action and creates a consistent but detrimental pattern. I really enjoyed how Marc Lewis discusses how the way we look at addiction is really bad for the action, for example in society we tell addicts that it is a disease that they have and that they have no control over their actions. It is about them relinquishing their power. The speaker then explains how dictating that the addict will naturally fall back into the habit, but treating the reason the addict has for wanting to do the drugs or alcohol in the first place is what will help them cure their condition. The problem with telling people it is out of their hands they then feel that they have no control of the situation, they are then more likely to fall back into old habits because they never gained back the necessary control to conquer the addiction in the first place

How does this relate to UX you ask? Well not everything is about UX haha! On a serious note I find neuroscience very interesting and I tend to find these talks on behavior in neuroscience very captivating. As I have said on many occasions this is why I love UX because it allows for deeper insight into people’s behavior and actions, I’m thinking I will do more research into the neuroscience field as time goes for the blog, for now though happy researching until next time!

Bye for now

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