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  1. When Kids Realize Their Whole Life Is Already Online
  2. Has dopamine got us hooked on tech?
  3. Bloomberg - Are you a robot?
  4. Our product

When Kids Realize Their Whole Life Is Already Online

I n an unprecedented attack of candour, Sean Parker, the year-old founding president of Facebook, recently admitted that the social network was founded not to unite us, but to distract us. Facebook is an empire of empires, then, built upon a molecule. Dopamine, discovered in , is one of 20 or so major neurotransmitters, a fleet of chemicals that, like bicycle couriers weaving through traffic, carry urgent messages between neurons, nerves and other cells in the body.

In the s, dopamine was thought to be largely associated with physical movement after a study showed that Parkinsonism a group of neurological disorders whose symptoms include tremors, slow movement and stiffness was caused by dopamine deficiency. In the s, that assumption changed following a series of experiments on rats by Wolfram Schultz, now a professor of neuroscience at Cambridge University, which showed that, inside the midbrain, dopamine relates to the reward we receive for an action.

Dopamine, it seemed, was to do with desire, ambition, addiction and sex drive. Schultz and his fellow researchers placed pieces of apple behind a screen and immediately saw a major dopamine response when the rat bit into the food. That dishwasher tablet might look like a delicious sweet, but the first fizzing bite will also be the last. Whether dopamine produces a pleasurable sensation is unclear, says Schultz.

But this has not dented its reputation as the miracle bestower of happiness. In this way, unlike its obscure co-workers norepinephrine and asparagine, dopamine has become a celebrity molecule.

Has dopamine got us hooked on tech?

In the tabloid press, dopamine has become the transmitter for hyperbole. In a running app, for example, this means only issuing encouragement — a high-five badge, or a shower of digital confetti — at random intervals, rather than every time the user completes a run. While the sell seems preposterously flimsy with a slot machine, for example, at least the random reward is money, a much more compelling prize than any digital badge , Brown says that the running app company has seen significant positive results.

Every habit-forming drug, from amphetamines to cocaine, from nicotine to alcohol, affects the dopamine system by dispersing many times more dopamine than usual. The use of these drugs overruns the neural pathways connecting the reward circuit to the prefrontal cortex, which helps people to tame impulses.

Bloomberg - Are you a robot?

The more an addict uses a drug, the harder it becomes to stop. Secretary DeVos has been involved in education policy for nearly three decades as an advocate for children and a voice for parents. She is especially passionate about reforms that help underserved children gain access to a quality education. DeVos' interest in education was sparked at an early age by her mother, a public school teacher. It grew when she sent her own children to school and was confronted with the reality that not every child in America is granted an equal opportunity to receive a great education.

DeVos saw firsthand the work leaders in her hometown were doing to increase educational opportunities for students and choices for parents, and she has been involved in the fight to provide better educational options across the nation ever since.

Her interactions there with students, families and teachers, according to DeVos, "changed my life and my perspective about education forever. A leader in the movement to empower parents, DeVos has worked to support the creation of new educational choices for students in 25 states and the District of Columbia. As secretary, DeVos will work with President Trump to advance equal opportunities for quality education for all students.

The Overprotected Kid - The Atlantic

DeVos firmly believes that neither the ZIP code in which a child lives nor a child's household income should be the principal determinant of his or her opportunity to receive a world-class education. As secretary, she will advocate for returning control of education to states and localities, giving parents greater power to choose the educational settings that are best for their children and ensuring that higher education puts students on the path to successful careers.

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Prior to her confirmation, DeVos served as chairman of The Windquest Group, an enterprise and investment management firm. She has been married for 40 years to entrepreneur, philanthropist and community activist Dick DeVos, and together they have four children and eight grandchildren. Search for:.