The Brain Science Behind Flappy Bird Addiction [Video]

In the ephemeral world of Internet memes, gamers have already moved on from Flappy Bird and on to the next thing. But that doesn’t mean that developer Dong Nguyen was wrong when he claimed that the game was proving “addictive” to players.

In a new YouTube Sci Show episode, host Hank Green explains why a game that even its staunchest defenders would admit is pretty stupid proved so crazily addictive.

The Brain Science Behind Flappy Bird Addiction [Video]As Green points out, Flappy Bird — like any well-made game — taps into deep-seated human desire for achievement, no matter how trivial those achievements might seem. Objectives achieved release dopamine in the brain, which in turn makes users feel good.

Your brain additionally records the train of events which led up to release of dopamine — meaning that in the case of Flappy Bird users will return to the game over and over the next time (or times) they want to experience similar positive feelings.

Until someone yanks the whole thing out of the App Store, that is.

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About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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