Dopamine Stimulating Headphones and How They Can Change Our Definition of Being High
|Image Courtesy of Flikr user Naveen Jamal.
Neuroscientists still do not fully understand the brain’s plasticity—its way of making chemical and structural changes throughout life (Dagranski et al, 2004). Neurotransmitters seemingly are sensitive to whatever we expose ourselves to, but for some reason a pair of headphones that alter their activity seem more harmless than a chemical substance that is actively ingested but also alters neurotransmitter function.
It is difficult to see a pair of headphones as potentially presenting a risk, but if it is altering the brain’s chemical composition, even by stimulating endogenous change in the brain, it could potentially have the same effects as drug use. Of course, everything will stimulate an endogenous change in the brain (Draganski et al, 2004), whether it is via a drug or everyday learning, from the coffee you may have had this morning to reading this now. The more we learn about the brain, the more ways we will find to technologically alter it. The main issue is not that there might be a change in the brain that produces an alteration in mood, because we also rely on activities such as yoga and drinking tea to change our mood, but rather that these headphones have the potential to produce changes in ways that are unclear and therefore in ways that challenge one’s ability to mediate an endogenous change. Hence, such technologies require more cautious use and research on long-term effects and potential dependency. We must be wary about the potential risk of using neurotechnologies that might seem harmless, such as headphones, as well as the allure to experiment with novel technologies, especially when the impact of those technologies on our brains is not well understood.
Want to cite this post?
Morales, Laura. (2016). Dopamine Stimulating Headphones and How They Can Change Our Definition of Being High. The Neuroethics Blog. Retrieved on , from http://www.theneuroethicsblog.com/2016/08/dopamine-stimulating-headphones-and-how.html