People engage in behaviors and take substances to achieve an altered brain state. Dopamine is responsible for the actual altered state of consciousness. For example:
- Pornography boosts dopamine, which provides a feel-better high. Porn on demand tends to be very addictive.
- Social media boosts dopamine. Checking your cell because you may have gotten a text, email, or call can give you a 400% spike in dopamine—only slightly less than cocaine (Sapolsky calls this the "magic of maybe")
- Alcohol boosts dopamine initially but there is an age 21 legal threshold. Internet addiction, pornography, and social media require no age threshold.
(Steven Kitler and Jamie Wheal, Stealing Fire, 2017)