[MUD-Dev] Dopamine and addiction

Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no> Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no>
Thu Nov 27 14:07:54 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003


I only have journalistic sources for the following, but there is a
lot of research around on the relationship between dopamine and
addiction.  (Dopamine is a chemical substance released in the
brain's "reward centre" which secures our desire to eat, have sex
and other vital life-functions.) According to a scandinavian
newspaper the danish researcher Albert Gjedde believes that
addiction to computer games, money games and drugs is an illness
related to a natural lack of dopamine. Thus people try to compensate
by overusing "tools" which release dopamine.

Allegedly playing violent computer games have resulted in levels of
dopamine that are three times higher than a regular dose of
cocaine. I believe there is earlier research showing release of
dopamine when playing MUDs. So bascially, longterm addiction to MUDs
is most likely not only psycho-social, but also playing on chemical
mechanisms and should most likely be classified as an illness.

What are the implications for ethical MUD design, and will
"addictive" become more of a negative term rather than a marketing
term?

--
Ola - http://folk.uio.no/olag/
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