Y is for “Your” Brain on Pokemon Go

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Since Pokemon Go became available, millions upon millions of people all around the world have downloaded this very popular game. You may have witnessed this new phenomenon while walking through your local park or museum, seeing the many players looking through their mobile devices searching for the elusive Pokemon creatures.

While it may be making game players euphoric, there may be a dark side to consider. The scientific reason an augmented reality game may be dangerous is that it can play games with your brains reward system the same way drugs are so addictive and junk food taste so delicious.

The neurons in our brain help us experience pleasure and positive reinforcement, this new Pokemon augmented reality artificially triggers our brains reward system. Similar to the reward we get from drugs, the brain is similarly activated from games such as Pokemon Go…In other words, the brain craves the stimulation more and more and more. The brain works on the “pleasure pain” principle, and is learning to continually seek the reward of the Pokemon location except “it isn’t real.”

This phenomenon is considered to be “only the beginning” just as games like Pong were many years ago. As we trick the brain into being positively rewarded from bigger and better virtual rewards, it can’t recognize the difference between virtual reward and reality; so eventually reality is un-intriguing and less desirable.

It’s easy to become part of a “craze” and lose sight of the joys and life that surrounds you. Your brain can enjoy all facets of life, but a limitation is essential. Your brain needs constant centering, in reality, and recognizing Pokemon Go isn’t reality but those beautiful moments in the park are real life experiences to be enjoyed.   

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About Ann Zuraw

Ann Zuraw, the voice behind "Chicks, Chat and Change", is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®), and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA™).If you have comments on this post contact Ann Zuraw

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