So you’ve just beaten the other team or won against someone in a 1v1 on your favourite game and you feel great. Winning is actually one of the best feelings that we know. This is because when we win, our brains receive a boost of testosterone, dopamine and endorphins. What’s more is that dopamine and endorphins often trigger the release of adrenaline, leading to our winning feeling a pretty dizzying mixture of excitement, euphoria and pride that can be addictive. You can also get this rush from a range of other successes, making you want to repeat your victory repeatedly.
The Winner Effect
In biology, the “winner effect” is used to describe how an animal, whether it be a mouse or a lion, is far more likely to win against stronger opponents after having won against weaker opponents. This is in part due to the boost of testosterone and dopamine that comes with each win, which researchers have discovered to have not only short-term effects but also long-term effects on the animal. In the long run, these testosterone and dopamine hits make the animal more confident, motivated and even smarter as they learn from their victories. Researchers have also uncovered that the winner effect not only applies to animals, but also to humans. The winner effect can exacerbate our addiction to winning because it makes it a more realistic prospect.
This infographic courtesy of bestnewbingosites.co.uk illustrates the varying effects that winning can have both on our brains and our bodies.
Dopamine and Motivation
The dopamine hit that come with a win can be difficult to ignore. Your body treats dopamine as a reward and remembers the feelings of victory. It then will motivate you to try win again, which is possibly why it is hard to stop playing games sometimes. Whether that means completing a more challenging round of a video game or to spend more time in training. This heightened level of motivation means makes you a lot more likely to win, however, you shouldn’t obsess if things don’t work out for you the very first time around.
Testosterone and Competitiveness
Testosterone is heightened after a win, and thus some effects are a boost in sense of power, dominance and competitiveness. This feeling will drive you to compete again and again to chase that feeling when you defeated a mega boss or your opponent in a 1v1. If you lose the feeling is awful as your body releases chemicals as highlighted in the infographic that punishes you. Testosterone levels actually have been found to drop after a loss.
Overall, the effects of winning in video games create long term effects on your body and brain. Winning in anything not only games will change your brain chemistry to try to win again and thus this is where gaming can get addictive.
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